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JC First Hand Experiences: John Lawson

July 20, 2012

The most obvious difference in this Jurisdictional Conference is the lack of elections. One of our bishops shared with me that this has not happened in North Central since 1956. At my first Jurisdictional Conference as a delegate we elected four Bishops.

A less obvious difference is the steadily decreasing number of delegates to our Jurisdictional Conference. At my first Jurisdictional Conference, there were 364 delegates. This year there are 242. In 2008 Wisconsin had 20 Jurisdictional Delegates. This year we have 12.

Each Conference has twice the number of Jurisdictional delegates as its number of General Conference delegates. Because of membership decline in North Central and membership growth in Africa, we have fewer delegates. While this does reduce expense somewhat, it reduces both the number and diversity of voices that are included in this important process.

The other difference I see so far is an undercurrent of discomfort with “business as usual.” Just as at General Conference, there is a sense that “the way we have always done it” is not bringing us the results we want. I anticipate some substantive discussion on the role and function of the Jurisdiction today.

For me, personally, the biggest difference is that I am a part of the Wisconsin delegation. I was a delegate from the former South Indiana Conference the prior four Jurisdictional Conferences. It has been a joy to reconnect with old friends from Indiana and other Conferences this week. And a joy to work with new friends from Wisconsin. Thanks for including a “new kid on the block” as a part of our team.

-John Lawson

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One Comment
  1. I look forward to hearing more about a “substantive discussion on the role and function of the Jurisdiction” and its results.

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