After all of the planning, all of the packing, and all of the navigating of line after line at three different airports, I am finally in Portland for General Conference 2016.
It was an interesting day;
On the way to Hopkins International Airport I had to make an unexpected, last-minute dash to replace a broken piece of gear. BTW, hats off to Dodd Camera for taking care of me so quickly!
Once at the airport I was fortunate to be in the security line AHEAD of a group of 24 from the Malone University Chamber Choir, who were heading to Nairobi, Kenya.
I experienced my first “ponytail pat down” by a TSA agent – yes, you read that correctly. Since I have been growing my hair to donate, I have traveled to several states and multiple countries – and before today had never had anyone ask to pat down my ponytail. I can’t say that anymore!
I prefer aisle seats because of my long legs, but for the second leg of the journey to Portland I booked a window seat so I could get some pictures of the trip.
I unpacked my camera when I arrived in Denver and boarded the plane for Portland with it around my neck ready to go.
When the mother and daughter traveling home from Daytona Beach arrived to claim the seats next to me they asked why I was taking pictures. I explained that I was heading to Portland for a United Methodist conference and I wanted to document the trip.
From two rows in front of me a man said, “I’m from Western North Carolina Conference and I’m going to General Conference too.”
From three rows behind me a young woman said, “I’m from Wisconsin and I’m going too.”
Others followed suit, shouting out the conferences that they were going to represent in Portland.
We arrived to find the airport filled with United Methodists wearing green vests adorned with the cross and flame. They greeted us, pointing out the best way to get wherever it was we needed to go.
We arrived to find United Methodist banners covering the sides of buildings and United Methodist advertisements plastered on the ceiling of Max transit cars.
Yes, United Methodists from around the world are in Portland, Oregon for General Conference 2016. This year’s theme is “Therefore Go,” based on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20.
Over the next 10 days the eyes of the world will be watching the way that 864 United Methodists discuss, deliberate, and make decisions on behalf of the denomination. Here’s hoping that when disagreements arise – and they will – we remember that we are all children of God.
- Rick Wolcott, East Ohio Conference Director of Communications