By Rev. David Nieda
May 16, 2016 | Portland, Oregon
Going into the second week of my first General Conference, I have several observations, from the first week, of the stirring of the Holy Spirit. I realize it might seem that General Conference and the Holy Spirit might seem “incompatible,” but here goes anyway:
First, the hospitality shown by all the volunteers has been an incredible witness of welcome. The Greater Northwest area has been well represented by the many individuals who have given their time and resources to faithfully serve the larger connection.
Second, with Bishop Swanson’s reminder of “Humility, Humility, Humility,” and Bishop Dyck’s challenge of “Go…Learn…Mercy!” moved delegates and visitors to standing ovations.
Third, I have had the opportunity to observe the proceedings of a legislative committee called Faith and Order. A subgroup wrestled with the homosexuality language in our Book of Discipline (¶304.3). As this subgroup entered gingerly into the topic of homosexuality and ordination, I witnessed incredible conversations in which difficult truths were spoken and listened to. There were moments of both grace and understanding. There were passionate admonishments and affirmations.
Here’s my conclusion: Holy Conferencing works! Hearing the story, seeking to understand and to be understood, listening with the heart can lead us who have different opinions to a place of being a richer and deeper community – holy community – a reflection of the church as church ought to be…in my humble opinion.
Rev. David Nieda currently serves as the Vancouver District Superintendent in the PNW Conference. He served previous appointments in local churches in Seattle and Los Angeles. David is married to his wife Lynne and together they have two children, Samantha (13) and Zach (8). He am passionate about church vitality, leadership development, golf, the Mariners and Seahawks, and his family, though not in that order!