I say “surviving” rather than “survived” because, technically, we’re between sessions of Annual Conference this year. Last weekend, the Central Pennsylvania Conference held its 222nd and final session. This coming Saturday will be the first Annual Conference of the new Susquehanna Conference (with a special session to be held later in September).
Ethan was with us each of the last two years, but Sarah made it our first time with two children. Fortunately, we had a suite on campus with plenty of room, because we needed it!
We’ve been attending annual conferences for twelve years and how different they are with children! The kids kept us moving — getting up early to make sure we’re all ready in time for breakfast, then getting them to childcare. After the morning and afternoon sessions, we walked to another building on campus to pick up the kids before going to the cafeteria for lunch or dinner. Anyway, it’s a busy time!
Sarah didn’t sleep too well (especially Friday night). But our biggest concern, which I mentioned Thursday night, was how the kids would handle childcare in an unfamiliar place with people they didn’t know. But, actually, we were very proud of how well both Ethan and Sarah handled childcare both days we were there! The fact that they both did well was a huge relief for us!
Of course, writing for the Daily Link also adds to our busyness there (although, since we’ve had kid(s), we’ve been doing lighter duty). But it’s part of our annual conference experience — the only year we haven’t written for the conference publication, so far, was our first (1999)!
Cokesbury always sets up a bookstore at annual conference. Browsing bookstores is always a bittersweet experience for me — I see so many books I want to read but know I can’t read them all! But I did come away with 4 books (a gift card and a coupon made me do it!): The Future of the United Methodist Church: 7 Vision Pathways, Five Practices of Fruitful Living, Reading Scripture as Wesleyans, and This We Believe: The Core of Wesleyan Faith and Practice (I also added a few others to my Amazon Wish List which has well over 100 items on it already!).
The last two books on the list are in connection with the Wesley Study Bible. The only reason I haven’t picked up a copy of this study Bible is because we expect to receive copies when we are ordained (at least, that’s what those who were ordained last year received).
Speaking of ordination, the first ordination service of the new Susquehanna Conference will conclude this Saturday’s uniting conference. Afterward, Joleen and I (along with those in our ordination class) will be “on deck” (that is, we’re on track to be ordained next year!).
Till then, here are some photos from our final night at annual conference this past weekend …