Gail Grossman, Rev. Craig Parrish and Bishop Bob Hoshibata stand along the edges of the plenary space with those protesting the church’s stance on homosexuality. Picture by Patrick Scriven.
I try hard to remain upbeat and hopeful. I admit it’s hard. Our wonderful church consistently votes 60/40 against issues I care about.
The very modest change in language that would have acknowledged that we differ on homosexuality. The divestment debate. The proposed restructure, Plan UMC, is so confusing, and seems to shift even more power toward the South Eastern Jurisdiction and Central Conferences. It eliminates COSROW and GCORR and makes them committees under the new General Council on Strategy and Oversight (GCSO). This is all very unfortunate. I can foresee the GCSO directing the work on behalf of women and persons of color in ways that do not resemble advocacy. It was already stated on the floor that these groups waste money on things that don’t lead people to Christ. The end to the security of appointment not even debated. Issue after issue received a 60/40 vote. I am proud to be apart of the faithful 40%.
We will soon return home to an environment where we respect persons and acknowledge our differences. I now do not see a change in the 60/40 split at General Conference in the near future. Little here will change. I believe our collective efforts as a annual conference must continue in the direction Bishop Hagiya is leading us. We must double our efforts to grow, regain vitality, and engage our mission fields. I’m ready to go to work to create an Annual Conference to be reckoned with…
Financially strong, growing in every way, getting younger every day.
It is clear to me that if we don’t turn our PNW attention to the critical survival issues facing us, the General Conference may well bury all of us from the West.
It is almost lunch time.
Rev. Craig Parrish is the Conference Treasurer for the Pacific Northwest Conference and head of the PNW delegation to Tampa, Florida for General Conference 2012.