GCORR Monitoring Report – February 26, 2019

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Special Session General Conference 2019
GCORR Monitoring Report
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

“Your neighbor is your other self, dwelling behind a wall. In understanding, all walls shall fall down.

Who knows but that your neighbor is your better self, wearing another body? See that you love him/her/them as you would love yourself.

He/She/They too is a manifestation of the Most High, whom you do not know.”

Jesus, The Son of Man: His Words and His deeds as Told and Recorded by Those Who Knew Him, Kahlil Gibran

Individual small incidents, when considered one by one, may not seem significant, and they may appear harmless on their face. However, the collective impact of “little things” loom large when they affect our collective efforts to make normative the full inclusion of all people and to engage in holy conferencing as an open and affirming Body of Christ.

We heard during Monday’s legislative session that some of our delegates were denied travel visas in time to be a part of this General Conference. Are we pained by their absence? What responsibility do we take as a body to discover why this happens and how it might be remedied in the future?

Also, unlike other General Conferences, our legislative committee work did not include opportunities for delegates from one conference to be at table and in conversation with delegates from other regions. Thus, we missed the chance for delegates to experience the stories and perspectives from church members 100 miles away or 1,000 miles away. If we enjoy that interaction in worship and prayer, do we feel the loss of that interaction in our deliberations? How might we remedy this going forward?

We also heard from several delegates that they experienced and/or witnessed incidences of micro-aggressions, which they perceived to be based on several aspects, such as gender, region, sexual orientation, during worship, meetings, and informal times. Those witnessing the incidents were not sure how to respond. How might we collectively expand our capacity to recognize, speak, and act with confidence and intercultural competence?

Further, there were moments on Monday when many struggled with the tension between the Christian love they value and their Christian conscience. As people ponder, it also raises concerns about how one can act with and convey integrity. If we say “I love those people, BUT …”, what does that communicate? If we say “I can be in relationship to them, HOWEVER …”, what does that mean? It raises the wonderment about whether we have an expansive or restrictive understanding of unity. This wonderment crosses multiple identity lines.

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