Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why I Voted the Way I Did

In response to John's comment, which started to be too long for a comment, here is why I voted for our Annual Conference to stay at Lake Junaluska.

To tell you the truth I came in ready for the conference to move. I think we as a conference should be willing to make necessary changes to encourage growth and hospitality. Since the Lake Junaluska auditorium doesn't fit all of our delegates it seemed appropriate to move. I did not agree with a couple of the arguments that were flying around. IE...Lake Junaluska is to pretty to move, God is only at the Lake, we won't be able to be spiritual in Greensboro, there is too much crime in that area of Greensboro. That was all too much sentimentalism and was really only grounded in personal opinion (and lack of the ability to see God in concrete).

In the end I did vote to stay and did so for two reasons. 1. Our money would go to help another United Methodist agency. If we moved to Greensboro we would only be padding Kourey's pockets, owner of the convention center. Plus the area around Lake Junaluska benefits well from our coming there, although they do hike up prices on hotel rooms and such. The estimated economic impact of AC is around $1,000,000 in the area. I would much rather do that in the Waynesville/Maggie Valley area than Greensboro (3rd largest city in NC) because it is a large positive impact on the community.

The other was a passionate plea from two youth delegates. They said they grew up together and they "always began the summer at the Lake." I thought about my two children and that "the Lake" is about the only time PKs can get together for a long period of time. They can interact with kids who understand their unique situation (living in a parsonage, Mom/Dad always at meetings, hearing people talk badly about their Mom/Dad). If we met in Greensboro the families would stay at home.

Overall those two reasons, economic effect on the community and my children growing up knowing other PKs and not regretting everything "church" persuaded me to stay. But as my wife reminds me, NO ONE CAN COMPLAIN NOW. I can no longer complain that the so called air conditioned Stuart Auditorium is a brisk 95 degrees. I can no longer complain and I won't because I voted to stay.


Rebecca Of Tomorrow said...

Sounds good. I am a strong supporter of local economies...and a lover of natural areas. On the other hand, if I ever end up being a delegate, I might revisit that decision when I'm sweating to death. :-)

Michael Reaves said...

I am a pastor in the Virginia Conference and I have been following this issue through your blog since you wrote about it during the 2009 Conference. I have only been to Lake Junaluska once for a three day seminar and I enjoyed it. It is a beautiful area. What your conference did is none of my business.

But I have one question: if the main meeting room cannot accommodate all of the lay and clergy delegates, then how can the conference justify remaining at Lake Junaluska? Could this become a Judicial Council matter if a delegate or group tried to force the conference to meet in a facility that is large enough to accommodate all delegates?

This issue seems to mirror the greater problem we have in the UMC as a whole -- a fear of any substantial change in the way we do things in order to broaden our circle.

Again, I don't mean to single out the Western NC Conference. We have our own issues in Virginia that reflect the same problems.

Unknown said...

Michael, good question and this was something some fellow ministers and I were talking about too. Lake Junaluska is providing some alternatives for next year, since it is a voting year. They will be having some air conditioned tents with the ability to communicate with the main auditorium. Real 21st century stuff in the midst of 20th century. It will be interesting if during the next General Conference something comes down about all delegates being able to be seated in one place. If that is the case we will have to move. Until then...

I echoed your sentiments about this a mirror of the greater problem. Change is hard but has to happen. when I stood up to stay, a part of me wondered if I was problem? Ouch.

Jonathan Marlowe said...

I'll be glad to tell my daughter that the speech that she and her friend made had an impact :)