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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    A view from the gallery

    May 11, 2016 / By Holly Nye, Reserve Clergy delegate

    So, as it turns out, my foot gets a chair of its own for this General Conference.

    I fell down a few days before traveling to Portland, and landed in a walking cast.

    Walking around with an extra "companion" has given me different perspective on Conference. My cast has brought out the compassion and generosity of people I encounter- not only delegates, but even the security guards who have to search all our bags and "wand" every person entering the building. They do their work with a friendly respect and compassion.

    Respect and compassion are gifts much talked-about and sought-after at General Conference. On Tuesday, Bishop Warner Brown raised the question, "will our words do harm?" He reminded us of John Wesley's plea: "Though we may not think alike, may we not love alike?" Our response to this entreaty remains to be seen.

    All of Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning have been given to discussing and adopting the Rules of Order, that will frame the structure and process of Conference deliberations. Specifically, a new rule 44 would have created a process, similar to our Upper New York process of 2015, for discussing measures related to human sexuality. At this time, rule 44 has been tabled. Unless it is taken off the table, all legislation will be addressed by traditional Parliamentary process. And: just as I write this, there is a motion to remove it from the table! Stay tuned: things can change quickly at General Conference.

    Sitting in the gallery as a Reserve Delegate is a bit like being a spectator - yet we are all part of the Body. At times, the Body seems as strained as my sprained ankle. Yet we are reminded to ask ourselves and one another: What is God's longing for our church? Surely God longs for healing and wholeness.  May it be so.

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    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 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."