The Rev. David Valera, with two name badges in tow, is pictured on the right along with four others at GC2012.


I think I am the only one in the PNW delegation with two badges. A red one that says “First Clergy Reserve Delegate”, and a green one identifying me as a member of the “PRESS”. One would think I could just go in and out of any of the rooms with these two badges, right? Well, not really. During plenary, before I could have access to the floor of GC, I would need an ORANGE arm band (issued to press folks with 30 minute durations) in order for pages to grant me access to the floor. Zoom lenses are such a gift! On the other hand, my green badge works well when I visually document PNW, WJ and PCC delegates who are in their committee meetings, giving a report or in worship! GC 2012 Trivia: If one wants access to (almost) all places at GC, one must have a RED badge with a GREEN stripe that says DELEGATE on it. But then again, if you are a delegate and engaged in the work of the conference, committee or sub-committee, there is no time to walk and wander around, unless you’re going to another room for another meeting or you’ve gone through a process of having an alternate to sit in for you!


Sometimes, especially during breaks, the Convention Center feels like a huge international airport with many folks pulling their rollaway bags, rushing to the next part of their journey. I enjoy seeing folks wearing their ethnic and regional attires. Oh! there’s a Barong Tagalog! That’s a really nice African shirt, hey! there’s someone wearing shorts, sandals and a backpack! Must be from the Northwest! Yes she is!

Brown, Red, Yellow, Black and White they are precious in God’s sight…

One clear observation: Central Conference delegates are way more engaged with the issues, thanks primarily to technology and access to information way ahead of time.  Great improvements have been made in delegate’s briefings at Central Conference, many weeks prior to their arrival in Tampa. I’ve also seen a significant increase in Central Conference delegates getting elected to leadership roles in their committees and sub committees. While dealing with jet-lag and changes in  time zones, these international travelers are doing a great job of keeping up with issues and speaking their minds. How do they manage to keep awake? And the reality is, they too are not of one mind as delegations. They speak from different and varying points of view. To some of them, English is not even a second language, it may be a third, fourth or almost ZERO WORDS at all.  I talked to a couple of language interpreters who said, they have been really busy, much busier than previous General Conferences. That’s a good sign right? Global church? A more Inclusive church?

Brown, Red, Yellow, Black and White they are precious in God’s sight…

I had a rainbow stole on the first day of GC, but during lunch break at the tabernacle tent, someone from the Central Conference sat beside me and commented on my beautiful rainbow stole, which partially covered my RED and GREEN badges (there’s a sermon there somewhere). So I asked her, “Would you like one?” She smiled and nodded, so I took off my rainbow stole and gifted it to her. She was very happy and thankful. For me, I felt honored to have made that connection. I left the tent joyous, especially with the meal with RICE, and proudly wearing my RED and GREEN badges, which do mean a lot to me. Although, it was rumored and again I use the word rumored, that one of my stoles may lose its objectivity if I wore a rainbow stole with it. Can you guess which one?


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