Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


Nick Ruxton and Meredith McNabb were there and so I asked them. (1) What didn’t play out the way you expected? (2) Where did you experience a connection between the everyday life of churches like Boulevard and the happenings of General Conference? (3) What made you proud to be a Virginian?

Actually, I posed four questions. One is stashed away for another use. Also, lest it appear that I am shortchanging an upstanding Boulevardian, Nick’s perspective follows—next week.

Meredith had never before been glued to a chair for ten days. This is not to say that she expected to ride unicorns over rainbows but rather that her only reference point was Annual Conference where: “I walk around a lot. I go talk with people, visit the bookstore and displays, etc. At General Conference it's all business all the time, and you vote every few minutes...”

Regarding the connection between here and there, she describes a conversation that unfolded over the course of several breaks with a remarkable pastor and district superintendent from Austria.

I told him about Boulevard's hopes and plans for the future, and he was really encouraging. Churches in his part of the world aren't much bigger than we are, mostly, and also have to be people who reach out broadly with God's love beyond their walls. I loved getting to talk with him and realize that there's the equivalent of our church in Vienna.

The United States has 57 annual conferences. There are 76 annual conferences in Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. Meredith gathered that some delegations weren't even speaking to each other by the end of the time in Portland.

But Virginia hung in together. W e met people who might become our next bishop. W e had hard conversations about difficult things. We worked 12+ hours a day for ten+ days. But we came out closer to each other, more proud of our Conference, and more hopeful about the United Methodist Church than I would've ever expected.

The writer to the Hebrews wanted to make sure that first-century followers of Jesus did not give up on their gatherings. Many have given much toward ‘not forsaking our own assembling’. Whether we see this as an expression of self-giving love is up to us. Choose to, friends. Dare to thank somebody for ten days in a chair.