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A Page's Perspective05/02/12
By Rev. Harriette Cross
When I attended the orientation session for pages and marshals for General Conference this year, we were asked to stand up at the number of General Conferences we had attended. I stood up at number four. This is the 4th General Conference that I have attended and as well as served as a page.
For me, this is an important service to the church for me. It gives me a chance to see the full church at work. The delegates are hard at work studying, discussing and discerning the mission and structure of the church. That is very important work. But it is impressive to me that for roughly two weeks, United Methodists, not just nationally, but from all over the world gather together in one building – to basically be the church. For me, I feel that attending General Conference is a lot like a family reunion. In my work as a pastor, I am amazed at how many different people I have gotten to know from so many different areas. My days at General Conference are filled with encounters with those friends and colleagues from many places.
As a page, every day we have a different assignment. While the legislative committees are meeting, we get the chance to hear the conversations in many different rooms. My first day I worked with General Administration as they heard presentations from different groups with an idea for the structure of the church. The next day I was with faith and order as they discussed what it meant to be a church open to all people.
However, my favorite part of being a page is being able to sit on the plenary floor as the delegates further discuss legislative decisions. Of course pages are not able to participate in the conversation, but as decisions are made that will affect the life of our denomination, it is important for me to be present – to hear the conversation for myself, and to have an understanding of how that decision was made.
For me, that makes the Book of Discipline a living document. It is not just a book of rules, but it is the culmination of how we come together as United Methodist and covenant to live out our faith in our churches and our world.