Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Follow General Conference 2012 online!
I can't believe it's already here: General Conference 2012 opens today! General Conference is a gathering of representatives from every conference of the United Methodist Church in the whole world. GC is a time when Methonerds like me geek out all day, every day for 10 days. If you're not that familiar with United Methodism, you'll start to hear strange phrases being thrown around like "quadrennium," "plenary," "conferencing," and "in perpetuity," along with acronyms of all kinds and parliamentary procedure terms.
This year, some very important legislation is coming before the worldwide body: major restructuring of the church's boards and agencies, changes to the ordination process, proposed elimination of guaranteed appointments, and unfortunately, the usual ideological bickering over hot-button issues. There are some easy ways to plug into GC 2012 to keep track of what is going on in Tampa and to read as much or as little commentary by folks there as you like. You can seriously spend all day reading, so I'm going to suggest some blogs and cool people to follow. These are by no means the only resources out there, so if you don't care for them, I encourage you to find your own.
- General Conference 2012 website is here. Click on "Today's Schedule" to download a PDF that will tell you what is happening and when.
- GC worship and sessions can be streamed live here.
- Got a smartphone? Interact with GC with the GC2012 app. To read about it and download, go here.
- You can track legislation progress here, but you have to know what you are looking for. If you just want to know about the legislation in general, check out a blog.
- The Methoblog is a great place to find headlines, quickly skim through a wide range of blog posts about GC, see the latest Tweets, and even watch videos made by United Methodists.
- Rev. Jeremy Smith is a delegate from OK and will blog GC at Hacking Christianity. He blogs a lot about the restructuring legislation. If you're interested in that issue, his blog is the place to go.
- Rev. Becca Clark is a delegate from VT and will blog GC at We Your People, Ours the Journey. Becca is on the committee on human sexuality, so if that's your interest, here is a good place to start. She puts her opinions out there, but makes sure to graciously host conversation and comments from all sides.
- Rev. Dan Dick is a veteran delegate from WI and he's blogging GC at United Methodeviations. I find his observations to be prophetic, perceptive, and on-point.
- On Twitter? The hashtag for this conference is #GC2012. You can search by it, but there will be so many posts, you may want to follow just a few people. Rev. April Casperson, a deacon from West Ohio, is a great person to follow. Her handle is @aprilcasperson. @UMWomen is the handle for UMW and they will be a great resource for anyone who's mission-minded. You can find Revs. Jeremy and Becca on Twitter as well (their Twitter handles are on their blogs).
And what of my thoughts on GC? Well, they will have to be sidelined for now. I'm going to Ashland tomorrow for a funeral. But I'll be live streaming GC as much as possible and perhaps next week I'll have some thoughts to share.