GC 2012 blog—morning activities

General Conference hasn’t even begun officially, but the Convention Center is filling and a lot is happening.

This morning, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the California-Pacific Conference spoke at a United Methodist Kairos Response press conference, making a case for divesting church funds of three companies said to support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Bishop Swenson said a trip she made to the Holy Land last year persuaded her that divestment was the right policy.

“I will be with you in this movement for as long as it takes, until we can truly see peace,” she said.

Other speakers included the Rev. Alex Awad, a Palestinian Christian, and Rabbi Brant Rosen, leader of a Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill.

“You have friends in the Jewish community and we are ready to stand with you,” Rabbi Rosen said.

Later in the morning, there was a press conference highlighting the work of the United Methodist Global Aids Fund. The Rev. Donald Messer noted that the fund was created at the 2004 General Conference in a grassroots efforts, and has since raised $3.5 million.

Most people at General Conference are staying at very nice hotels. But Brandon Lazarus, a Perkins School of Theology student and a GC page, and Luke Wetzel, a Duke Divinity student and delegate from the Kansas East Conference, are staying at The Lake House—a nondenominational Christian community.

They both said they wanted to be in a different setting, one where residents live communally and do service to the poor in the area. Both said they have found a great welcome from residents at The Lake House, who have asked them about John Wesley and prayed for GC—and given them rides to and from the Convention Center.

—Sam Hodges

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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