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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    A Marshal’s Experience at General Conference

    May 14, 2016 / By Bob Kolvik-Campbell, a marshal

    Yesterday, I greeted Bishops and assisted some in moving through the dark parts of back stage at General Conference.  Then I assisted a maintenance person named Greg to fix the hand rail on the steps leading to the interpreters' booth.

    I serve as a Marshal at General Conference.

    I was trained to assist delegates by supporting the rules set by the Conference.

    Also, we are problem solvers in many ways. If one is brought to us, we seek to follow through and find a solution.

    There are enough of us that we work in two teams, each for half the day.  Our day starts early, we arrive at 7 AM, if on the early shift.    Late shift, which is on the alternate day, starts at 1 PM......

    We smile, check badges, greet the delegates, and help people get to where they need to be.

    We represent the whole church as ambassadors of the whole church.  As such, we take no positions and do not assert our personal feelings about the content.  We, as Marshals and Pages, are about making the process as easy as it can be......

    Which is sometimes very easy and sometimes harder than it looks.

    Because of our staggered schedules, we form a community of our own, though this is not closed nor exclusive.  We share our hopes, dreams and experiences in ministry and in our lives. 

    We are laity and clergy whose goal at this General Conference is to serve the church.

    We represent the entire connection.

    And sometimes we help to get hand rails on the stairs of the interpreters booth fixed.

    Blessings from Portland!

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    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."