Well it is that time of year again and I am up at “The Lake”, aka, Lake Junaluska for the Western North Carolina Conference. It has so far (clergy session + day one) been a good time. Worship has been wonderful.
Conference business has been a little trifle. There is one major issue that is coming before the conference and that is, where to have annual conference. A Task Force has looked at moving the WNCC AC to Greensboro, NC and is proposing to do that next year. The main reason is that the annual conference has outgrown the facilities here at “The Lake”. Stuart Auditorium we congregate in can only sit 2/3s of the delegates of the AC. This means that 1000 people are left out from voting. This does seem a little unfair.
I could go on about the little things like not many eating options, poor air conditioning in the auditorium, and a couple more but then I think I am being a little trite now. We will vote on this matter tomorrow afternoon but today we could ask questions of the task force and to clarify anything we desired. Around 48 questions were asked, and 1/3rd were simply reasking the same question and some were people really making a statement and not asking a question.
Some were valid. Where is the money we spend on AC going? If we move to Greensboro it will go to the Koury Family, the rich young rulers of the center we would host the AC in and who own a good portion of Greensboro. Here at “The Lake” (are you tired of the quotes yet?) the money goes to a United Methodist Conference Center, actually the United Methodist Conference Center for the South Eastern Jurisdiciton.
We need to honor the amount of delegates we have and if we have out grown the space, being good stewards, we need to look at options. I understand the need to move but there is sentimental passions stirring too.
Some of the questions that were posted were plain stupid. There is no other word, just stupid. “Did we know that the crime rate in this area is one of the largest in Greensboro?” (Like Jesus commands us to go only where crime is down and there are no poor). Some of it is emotional. Stuart Auditorium has had more clergy ordained in it than any other place in the nation (pretty freakin cool!) The view is unbelievable and the resources for families to join delegates and have stuff to do is very good as well. But the Holy Spirit is known to not only reside in this cove of the mountains.
How will I vote? I am still up in the air. I can see both sides. Change is scary. Change is necessary. Are we changing for the sake of changing or are there real and tangible needs that can be filled by going elsewhere? We do make an impact on the community around us and we provide a nice boost to the economy of this area. But hotel room prices do go up for these four days, by almost 30%.
It will be interesting to say the least.