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First Hand Experience: Steve Polster

January 3, 2012

Contact2012 General Conference

The former Evangelical United Brethren and now United Methodist church has nurtured me spiritually for my whole life and has been my employer for the last 37 years.  In those years I have come to a deep appreciation for the life and ministry of the United Methodist movement lived out in the world.  I think it was in 1995 that I first put my name forward as a person interested in serving as a Delegate to General Conference.  I wanted to try to influence the life and ministry of the UMC in efforts to continue the process of inviting others to a relationship with God in Jesus Christ lived out in loving and serving the world. In June of 1999, I was elected as a Jurisdictional Conference Delegate for the 2000 delegation and attended my first General Conference for a part of the time.  It was there that the world wide connection of United Methodism first became real to me. Then,  and again in 2004 and 2008, I have experienced the wonderful mixture of people and language interacting with each other one-on-one, in small groups, and in the plenary sessions.  I have encountered people who seek to love God and the Church with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and their neighbor as themselves. And, I have encountered people who have closed their hearts and minds to others seeking instead to dominate and intimidate.  In that regard General Conference is like the rest of the world and the witness of General Conference is like the witness of the rest of the Church.  I keep wanting to go back because when people are open and when the Holy Spirit is working, wonderful, life changing decisions are made like the anti-malaria campaign that has saved the lives of so many and enlisted the support and involvement of so many more.

In 2012 I will once again be at General Conference serving as I did in 2008 as the First Clergy Reserve.  I expect once again to be inspired by powerful worship, challenged by prophets, angered by bigots, saddened by hurtful words, encouraged by brave disciples, and motivated by dedicated believers who have sacrificed in order to be faithful.  I’m glad for the opportunity to be part of the process of refining our United Methodist Church and our mission in the world in Christ’s name.

One Comment
  1. Steve Polster permalink

    I should have proofed my writing better…actually I was First Reserve in 2004 and a General Conference Delegate in 2008!

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