By Bob Phillips
Some rain in Portland slightly dampened the day, but the number of clear-sky days already was a pleasant surprise. Morning worship included some rousing music from Africa to get the creaky geezer contingent from the 1960's swinging and swaying. The balance of the day, from 1030 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., was given in the various committees reading and voting on petitions and resolutions.
The job was not complete. The Higher Education and Ministry group of which I was part probably did not read 60 or so petitions due to lack of time...not stalling and no conspiracy to keep items from public view. In such cases any petition that receives 20 signatures from delegates will be reclaimed for review early next week. Also, when there is a gush of petitions (over 250 in my group), they were given priority according to whether they came from a group-organization or an individual, and the group was not limited to official church lobby types.
The greatest conflict today for most delegates was the struggle of staying awake amid the tedium of petition review. Tomorrow is Sunday, Pentecost, and the 1000+ delegates and observers will fan out for worship in various churches...except for those going the tourist route to see some local sites.
Next week all will gather to sift, sort, discern and vote. Will bishops have term limits? Will the process toward ordination or alternative ways of serving Christ in the church streamline? Will a proposal to shift $20 million from general church coffers into new church starts and innovative outreach survive the moans and wails certain to sound over such an approach? Stay tuned, and you best can do so by dialing Jesus in your personal time of prayer.