So I’m sitting at Annual Conference in Peoria right now. I alway enjoy the fellowship I have at Annual Conference. I get to meet up with colleagues and friends I may only see this one time a year.
Things at this conference have been abnormal, though, to say the least. We checked into our hotel yesterday afternoon and we were told that we were “randomly upgraded.” We walked into a jr. suite and I thought we were absolutely lucky! We had a wet bar, a seperate living room and bedroom, much larger than what we paid for. I really rubbed it in to my mother-in-law who is here as a visitor with a lay member from her parish, I joked that their whole room was probably only as large as our bathtub. My wife insisted that we go up to their room to take her mother some diet soda…..my foot was quickly inserted into my mouth as we stepped off the elevator onto the “presidential suites floor”….somehow they were randomly upgraded to a HUGE sweet. Full kitchen, living room, panoramic view, giant flat-screen, dining room, bath robes, jacuzzi, walk-in shower….it was more like a swanky condo than a hotel room. It does seem absnormal to me that both of us (from the same family) got randomly upgraded.
The other abnormality is more wonderul than anything. I sat in the clergy session last night and I was truly amazed at the different atmosphere there was from past years. We were laid-back, and there was this thing called laughing.
The atmosphere of our morning worship was abnormal, too. Bishop Palmer actually preached the WORD. I’m not talking about an address, or a speech in favor of an agenda…but he preached! I felt fed and refreshed.
It just seems there is a different feeling than years past, a different spirit. Looking around, I don’t even see the material symbols of the things that divide us….we may not all agree on everything, but maybe with this new spirit we’re starting to see eachother in a different light, maybe we’re starting to lay aside our personal agendas for the sake of our missional agenda of the Gospel. Maybe we’re in for a wonderfully abnormal annual conference.