Day One

Written by Connor Kenaston, Lay Reserve Delegate from WV

And so it begins… After a long flight, time changes, and not enough sleep, I have finally arrived in Portland! Honestly, much of the first day of General Conference was wonderful. I was surprised at how many people I already knew! In many ways, the first day really felt like a family reunion. Seeing all those friendly faces brought a rush of smiles, hugs, and memories. The intentionally inclusive worship was also powerful. There are few other times in one’s life when one is surrounded by such a rich diversity.  It is truly wonderful to worship in a way that reflects the kingdom of God.

However, General Conference encompasses more than the joy of family-like reunions and powerful worship. And sadly, the first day’s legislative duties brought much of the logjam, confusion, and frustrations that many people had been fearing in the buildup to General Conference. Emotions were not high, but parliamentary strategy, complex rule procedures, and insider-language was running rampant. The decision to delay adopting the rules caused a great degree of confusion and even included us having to work until 9:30pm when we would have finished at 6:30pm!

The letdown of having struggled much and accomplished little is difficult, but I am still hopeful. I am hopeful due to the conversations that I’ve had with other delegates about the future for the church. I’m hopeful due to the reminder of the power of communion and scripture. In all our different languages, cultures, experiences, dreams, and hopes, the Spirit can truly flourish, and so I remain hopeful.

But then again, it’s only Day One 😉

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Even got to hang with one of my former roommates who I lived with in intentional community my first year as a Global Mission Fellow, US-2!

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About "Stretch Out Your Hand"

The next two years, I'll be serving as a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults between the ages of 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for two years of mission service. It grew out of the faith and justice emphases of the historic United Methodist US-2 and Mission Intern programs. Global Mission Fellows become parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world. I'm from West Virginia where I'm a member of Lewisburg United Methodist Church in the West Virginia Annual Conference. Last May, I graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History. I worked for the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Mayhew Program for “at risk” boys. While in school, I attended First & Summerfield United Methodist Church. My father is a United Methodist district superintendent and his mother is involved on the church’s general level. Connor S. Kenaston is a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, serving a two year term of service. The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults between the ages of 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for two years of mission service. It grew out of the faith and justice emphases of the historic United Methodist US-2 and Mission Intern programs. Global Mission Fellows become parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world. Connor is from West Virginia where he is a member of Lewisburg United Methodist Church in the West Virginia Annual Conference. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Yale University. He has worked for the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Mayhew Program for “at risk” boys. While in school, Connor attended First & Summerfield United Methodist Church. His father is a United Methodist district superintendent and his mother is involved on the church’s general level. As a pastor’s kid, the church served as a “second home” for most of my life. A Mission of Peace trip to Cuba in 2008 made a particularly strong impact on my faith journey. On this trip we saw Christ already at work in the world, and I felt a calling on my life to work for justice. My college experience also significantly affected my faith, partially because, for the first time in my life, I lived in a diverse community where most people did not identify as Christians. Consequently, this experience helped me to define who I am, what I believe, and why that’s important to me. I'm interested in serving as a Mission Fellow because I have a strong call to share of God’s love and help the church be a prophetic voice for justice. It is my responsibility to make sure the church is in service—especially with the poor and marginalized in the world.
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2 Responses to Day One

  1. Reblogged this on "Stretch Out Your Hand" and commented:

    Brief post of Day One’s reflections on General Conference!

  2. Jane Ives says:

    Well said!

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