Thoughts from Annual Conference, III
Wednesday night was the ordination service at Annual Conference. We practiced at noon on Tuesday and Wednesday (though I got out of Wednesday’s practice, as I had no entourage walking with me). I arrived at Hoover right on time (ok, I was a little bit late) so instead of going around behind backstage where we were supposed to line up, I met one of my colleagues at the steps, where we were supposed to gather for pictures. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the process, so someone came around and got us and had us walk around the building. As soon as we got there, the leaders (who had just come and gotten us) said, "Now let’s go around for the picture."
Now that’s being a nimble church.
So we walked back around the building and had our pictures taken on the steps of Hoover. Then we went back around and stood in line for nearly an hour, as the service had been pushed back 30 minutes. Whee! As we started walking up the road (again) toward the entrance of Hoover (where we’d had the picture taken), Bryan came along and walked with me. I suggested that he could walk onstage with me (wearing his Lima Shawnee "Blessing of the Bikes" T-shirt and Harley Davidson hat). He declined. In fact, he made it clear to the leadership that he was just hanging out with me and not planning to process with me down to the front – he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the Board of Ordained Ministry for wearing an unauthorized outfit…
My church blessed me with a brand new robe and stole (they made the stole, and I was pleased especially with the design they put on it. When I get home, I’ll take some digital pictures and put them up on this site), and I was wearing it for the service. PD, who came up from NK for the ceremony, seemed pleased to see me in full clerical garb (as he is the pope of robes and stoles). Anyway, Cean, who is the keeper of all decorum (who Bryan didn’t want to offend with his outfit), had told us that we didn’t have to dress up under our robes, so I didn’t. But I looked like a dork wearing shorts and socks with sandals (she did mandate that we had to wear socks!), so I zipped the long pants onto my shorts.
The service was nice, though rather long (and hot in the robe – I’m glad I wasn’t one of the district superintendents who stayed on the stage under the lights through the whole service)!
True to the form I had expected, my walk across the stage was not right after the ordination of the Elders, but after what was after that. When I walked across the stage in the 2002 Conference, those of us who were coming into Probationary Membership from other denominations did not walk where we expected to - right after the Commissioned Elders. Instead, we waited behind the curtain while read the names of those who had died…). This time I was expecting to be last, so it was OK.
But shortly after I went backstage, my sister poked her head through the door. She didn’t want me to walk across the stage by myself. Then she asked if I wanted her husband to walk with me, too, which I was happy about. Especially when I saw that they were dressed in attire which I was sure would be deemed inappropriate by Cean (including Tim’s shorts, though he was wearing socks with his sandals. Her facial expression seemed to me to suggest that someone had possibly deposited a newly-dead skunk at her feet.
But that didn’t have any bearing on my status, and it nearly made me laugh out loud. After the service, I saw some members of my former church – some I was happy to see, and another, well, I shook his hand uncomfortably. I was extremely pleased that some NK friends came to see my ceremony – PD, who I already mentioned, Deb K, Lester S, and Mindy S all made the trek to Lakeside. I also was glad to be supported by friends in the conference as well.