I wrote some of this on Friday and some on Saturday. Both days we have spent most of our time in legislative committees. You can see my spread as we work. I am assigned to General Administration in the sub-committee dealing with Plan UMC Revised. This is a re-visiting of Plan UMC – which was all the excitement of GC2012. The 2016 version of GC doesn’t seem to have much energy for it. Our sub-committee voted to refer it. Some of the makers were in the committee and were obviously disappointed. Investing time and energy in to something you are passionate about can leave you feeling empty. I think I can safely say that. It’s stressful.
Here is Friday‘s prayer from the West Virginia Annual Conference:
“Dear Lord, we lift up Judi today as she fulfills her responsibilities for General Conference. May Christ be in the heart of each to whom she speaks and in the mouth of each who speaks to her. Grant her the rest that will provide the energy she needs; grant her wisdom as she makes decisions and peace as she listens to your voice. Today may the work of the General Conference move us closer to your reign on this earth. Amen.”
In April, the delegation wrote prayers that we wanted to ask the annual conference to pray for us while we were gone. Each day is a different delegate. Today was mine. It was really nice to read it this morning and know that people were being reminded to pray for me.
Every General Conference, I have truly believed that prayers have sustained me. Generally, in the past, just because I managed to stay healthy and have enough energy to complete the work that was in front of me.
I was talking to a first-time delegate in the hallway. A younger man, he told me he had no idea how hard this week would be. He said, “I’m in good shape and healthy and I’m worn out.” Yesterday the leader of one of the legislative committees collapsed on the stage. The diagnosis was de-hydration, lack of food and stress. (Just a note: he is doing fine now and is back at conference). Every year, we hospitalize delegates for stress-related illnesses. As I was preparing to send this, word came that the vice-chair of the same committee had been taken to hospital.
It’s grueling out here…..
The Commission attempted to address some of these concerns by setting the early adjournment time. We break at 6:30 and folks can get dinner and go to bed. Except when they can’t. My mornings start with a 6:30 am meeting. I catch the train at 6:00. I have given up telling myself that’s 9:00 back home. Because then I would have to admit that I went to bed at 2 am the night before.
When I have tried to explain how hard it is to be at General Conference, I realize that until you do it, you just can’t understand. Yes, it is wonderful. Yes, it’s an honor and privilege. Yes, it’s exciting. But it’s also just plain hard work. Emotionally and physically. And I’m tired.
Thanks for your prayers, West Virginia Conference. We are doing our best.
We have heard wonderful sermons, an incredible young people’s address, some impassioned speeches, and now we’re in the process of tediously going through legislation with a 9:30 pm deadline.
Tomorrow is a Sabbath. Never is it more appreciated than at General Conference.
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As they say in China, jia you (you can do it)!