My first General Conference was in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in 1991. I had been in MCC three or four years as a member of Open Arms MCC in Rochester, NY, and had heard all about what a wonderful experience General Conference is from my pastor and friends. I had also been to District Conferences and loved meeting friends from other MCC’s in the district, so when I made the decision to go to General Conference I was filled with anticipation and expecting it would be fabulous.
Even with high expectations, I can only say that I was blown away.
Worship was particularly powerful for me. I didn’t have a lot of church background before coming to MCC, and one worship service particularly stands out in my memory. There was group leading special music, and we were standing and singing along. The moment was one of joy and high energy, with about a thousand people all celebrating together in worship. At that moment, I happened to glance across the aisle and saw a woman sitting in her chair, holding a sleeping child on her shoulder. Her eyes were closed and she presented such an image of peace.
I still can’t imagine how that young child could have slept through the raucous and celebratory music. Maybe the safety of the mother’s arms enabled the child to tune out the noise and find a place of peace and rest.
I have held this image close to my heart ever since that day. It’s a memory that I will intentionally recall during times when there’s chaos in my life and I need to find a place of quiet joy, even if just for a moment.
For me, there have been many moments at many General Conferences since then, and each of those moments is special for a different reason. So whether you come to General Conference to vote on business items or expecting to learn lots of great information to take back to your home churches or looking for an opportunity to reconnect with long-time friends, I hope you will also come expecting and open to receiving the moments that will stay with you forever.
In my current role as Director of Operations for MCC, one of my responsibilities is in overseeing the planning and carrying out of General Conference. I’m blessed to work with a great team on all aspects of the process, and I’m particularly excited about the team planning our upcoming conference in Victoria. When we start planning a conference, we always begin by asking ourselves what we want the conference to accomplish. There is a long list of answers to that question, but the one answer we start with and never lose sight of is:
Offer a world class global gathering with outstanding worship, leadership training and connection opportunities that strengthen our local churches and global movement in support of our vision and mission.
I’m a big Star Trek fan, and on one of the shows the Captain is fond of telling the crew to “make it so!” Well, in this case I’m glad I can’t just say “make it so!” and magically arrive at the event. The planning and the journey to get there are exciting and I wouldn’t miss a minute of it!
God Bless you, and see you in Victoria!