I saw a lot of friends at New England Annual Conference, great people with whom I would love to be in ministry. I laughed and prayed and sang and ate and fellowshipped with some really great folks– some old friends and some new ones. And they treated us very well at the Boston University Alumni/ae lunch!
All of the people I talked to at New England Annual Confernece were excited about the prospect of welcoming the churches and clergy of Vermont. Some had logistical questions (don’t we all!) and questions about timing and clergy membership–that’s a big one– but the overwhelming response was one of anticipation and welcome. There was also a lot of sympathy for the grief members of Troy must be feeling at losing one another; their understanding and discussion was both appreciated and painful.
Unfortunately, due to some longer debate about what was really a very important (in my outsider’s opinion) resolution in support of immigrants and refugees, the Conference ran out of time today to discuss the resolution to officially recommend the VT-NE merger. So we actually had to leave before we had a chance to say, “hey, we’re happy to be here, we’re really excited about our future ministry together” or witness to their discussion and vote.
I was a little disappointed in that. And frustrated. I really wanted the inverse experience of last week’s vote: the excitement and hope of seeking connection as the positive flip side of Troy’s vote to go our separate ways in our boundaries change. I bet you can’t guess what my reaction was to that, my sisters and brothers.
At least this time, I wasn’t on a stage, and I held most of the tears back until I got into the bathroom.
But the funniest thing happened when I pulled the tissue out of my pocket. I thought of what my friends had said about supporting me, about the human hankie with me in spirit, and about the hundreds of Troy Annual Conference people who I represented and who, along with me, trust that this vote will go just fine tomorrow (while I’m preaching back home), and I smiled. I even laughed.