Greetings from Tampa -
* Opening Ceremonies today. Big worship with dancers and a mass choir and a band playing 8 kinds of music. The liturgy bounced from English to Portuguese to German to Korean to Spanish to American Sign Language. Even back here in the cheap seats, I was moved by the expressed desire to be the body of Christ, unified in witness around the world.
* Speaking of which, The Common Witness Coalition has been working through the weekend to welcome and build relationships with international delegates. Tonya Harris and Frank Wulf will blog more about this later – I just showed up in time for a rockin’ dinner with live music and powerful progressive speaker in the Coalition’s “tabernacle” – a big white tent set up across from the Convention Center. It will be there all GC, serving lunch and providing a meeting place for international delegates.
The Coalition consists of these groups: Affirmation Methodists for LGBTQ Concerns, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, MFSA, National Federation of Asian American United Methodists, Native American International Caucus, Reconciling Ministries Network . Find out more at: http://gc12.org/about/coalition/
* The Cal-Pac delegation was saddened to find that our table position on the floor is in the very back row, along with others in the Western Jurisdiction. The initial map had shown us that Row 1 would be, well, the first row. You will need to keep sending our delegation your good prayer energy, as it is more difficult to be seen and recognized by the presiding Bishop from the back row. On the up side, our delegation is seated around delegates from the Congo and Russia.
* If you’re reading this, you’re probably also following events on www.umc.org. If so, you’ll note that Cal-Pac Delegation Leader Tom Choi is pictured on the front page with Bishop Grant Hagiya. Very exciting.
* Tonight we are hearing from Erin Hawkins, General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion & Race, on diversity issues. She’s from our Conference – consistently thoughtful and insightful. Then some work on rules and schedule.
* Lay Delegate Mele Maka has been elected Chair of Courtesies. It's lovely to have her leadership and graciousness so widely recognized.
Legislative Committee meetings begin tomorrow. Your humble bloggers will seek to respond to the interests of our readers.
Rev. Paige Eaves
Jurisdictional Reserve Delegate