Instead of doing business, Sunday at General Conference is a semi-Camp meeting day.
The day started with Sunday school—Children, youth and adults. A couple hundred adults attended a class led by Jim Dunn where everybody got pre-printed quarterlies (though Jim had prepared the wrong lesson then switched and taught a lesson he’d never seen.)
The conference went with the contemplative easy-going reflective style of praise music led by Jack Lynn instead of the breathless driven style of past general conferences. GS Tom Armiger preached. Armiger is not known as an orator so when he did admirably well at the sermon from John 17 most everyone was impressed.
Instead of an afternoon service or “singspiration” this time the handed off the service to Kerry Kind and educators for a more academic approach. Chris Bounds delivered a 13 page paper outlining the various holiness positions in the Wesleyan church: Bounds outlined three Wesleyan positions—the “shorter way” that is the traditional approach, the “Middle Way” of seeking entire sanctification until God in his own timing grants it, and the ‘Longer way” of dying out over many years or until near death, He added a fourth Keswick approach for reference since some Wesleyans have that position—“God won’t deliver you from your rebellious spirit but you can sill have regular victory over sin.” His paper was followed by a McLaughlin group type roundtable response discussion with Keith Drury serving in the John McLaughlin role. You can get the paper by asking firstname.lastname@example.org
Honoring people took about an hour of this service starting with 188 ministers who have served 40 or 50 years in the ministry (including me—I took my first pastorate 40 years ago this summer). We all got a big fat medal like those the Russian generals wear. Then the retiring Wilson brothers were honored—Norman after 32 years at headquarters, 1700 Wesleyan Hour programs. Perhaps the greatest honor for Norm is he is considered –irreplaceable—the Wesleyan Hour will go out of business when he leaves this week. After about an hour, GS Jerry pence got to preach and focused on becoming a “Transformational people.”
Well, there’s really no an afterglow but everyone was tired of sitting in services today so all kinds of groups went out for ice cream, Cokes or whatever other excesses Wesleyans give themselves to at general Conferences.
Tomorrow @ 8.30 AM I will start text messaging from the floor of the conference…