That is a big, long name that really just means a gathering of the clergy and lay delegates of all of the United Methodist churches in the state of Louisiana. I suspect the roads are full right now of folk making their annual pilgrimage to Shreveport.
We begin tonight in the Gold Dome with the Memorial Service where we will remember all of those clergy and clergy spouses who have passed away during the year. My friend, Rev. Bill Rowell will be remembered.
Tomorrow, we have our clergy session at Brown Chapel, while the laity have their session in the Gold Dome. Then, we come together as an Annual Conference, consecrate our space, and begin the work of the Annual Conference.
Tomorrow night, Monday, is when we gather at First Church, Shreveport, for ordination -- My Ordination. To say that I am on high-emotion right now does not begin to describe what is going on inside. This is the culmination of 20 years of education, prayer, exploration, inquiry, examination, study, writing, testing ... how do I put all that into words? I am not sure, but I am expected to do that tomorrow afternoon as I speak before the Annual Conference.
At my ordination, Darryl Tate and George Duerson will be with me to lay their hands on me as the bishop says, "Take thou authority ...". Darryl was my first UMC pastor and George is my friend, mentor and guide. I will be wearing Bill Rowell's clergy robe and no doubt will surely feel his hands resting on my shoulders also. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes -- tears of joy, grief at Bill's passing, hope for the future, thankfulness for the journey ...