After a day of scheduled rest, General Conference delegates gathered at the Tampa Convention Center last night (Sunday night, April 29) for a plenary session celebrating highlights of the denomination’s ministries and mission projects.
But by the end of the evening, as the program ran 70 minutes past its scheduled 9:30 p.m. closing time, not everyone was celebrating.
“It’s important stuff, but all I can think about it is the legislation we failed to act on because they made us stop at 9:30 last night,” mused the Rev. Rebekah Miles, associate professor of Ethics and Practical Theology at the Perkins, in a blog post last night.
Ms. Miles serves on the Ministry and Higher Education Committee. New rules in 2012 mandated that plenary and legislative committees sessions end by 9:30 in the evening at the latest and that legislative committee work had to be finished by Saturday. Ms. Miles noted that some important items didn’t get past the committee “simply because the time clock ran out.”
Last night’s session was packed with a parade of highlights, including two milestones: the 20th anniversary of Communities of Shalom – which began at General Conference in 1992, in response to riots in Los Angeles – and the 40th anniversary of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Also highlighted last night were the five ethnic national plans, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st century, the General Commission on Archives and History, Imagine No Malaria, Africa University, the Global AIDS Fund, The Advance, the Four Areas of Focus, the General Commission on United Methodist Men, the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, the presentation of Good Samaritan Award (Boy Scouts), and the General Board of Global Ministries’ Celebration of Commissioned Missionaries.