Much to my great surprise, my report for the Commission for Women went swimmingly. Our two recommendations - gender dynamics training for staff and a funded coordinator of women's ministries - passed by significant margins. I was so surprised, in fact, that I didn't realize they had actually passed until I left the platform and got to the back of the room, and people started hugging me. Despite having watched the results come in, I had apparently prepared myself so well to lose gracefully that it didn't register that I didn't have to.
But I guess nothing should have shocked me at this GS. We voted to adopt the Belhar Confession, which means it only has to be passed by 2/3 of the classes to be official. Frankly, I did not expect this to pass. At best, I expected it to barely squeeze through after all the bruhaha over whether it would be used to advocate for full inclusion of LGBT persons. Thank God, people decided the larger vision of the Belhar was worth more than fear about what they might have to work through because of it.
Those were amongst the highlights of GS for me. Others included:
- Marlin Vis' closing sermon....even though I was herded out to catch the bus and missed the end.
- Finally getting a roommate whose sleep habits did not involve waking up around the time that I was coming in at night.
- Catching up with friends, and meeting new ones...just when I thought I already knew everyone in the RCA.
- Good, intelligent, funny, enlivening, late into the night conversation, sometimes made even better by the addition of good Scotch.
I was sad to leave, which I suppose is a bit odd given that it was a week of long, intense meetings and sleeping on a dorm bed for about four hours a night. But we did some significant work this week, and I got to spend time with good people, and it all just made me happy to be there.
Balancing out the week, there were of course a few things of which I was not so fond. Parts of GS that I hope will not reappear next year include:
- Celebrations of everything and anything. I know, I know, I led one of the celebrations. But I would not have asked for as much time if I had realized that we would spend so many hours recognizing this or that that we wouldn't be able to finish the actual business at hand.
- Lengthy resolutions when we're already late. I missed the end of the sermon and communion for THAT?
- Early mornings. Yeah, I know, they're probably not going to start on my time schedule anytime soon, but this 8:00am business kills me.
- The abundance of people who just really like to hear themselves talk. Also unlikely to change, as we are a bunch of ministers.
So, now I am home, with a few days to catch up and reorient myself before I leave again - this time on vacation with my family to the North Dakota badlands. Yes, you read that correctly: North Dakota. It would not have been my choice. That said, the badlands are absolutely gorgeous, in a stark and brutal sort of way. I plan to do a lot of hiking, and a lot of playing with my nieces, who I only get to see a couple of times a year.