Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Week of Conference

We got home Saturday afternoon after spending most of the week in Tampa for Annual Conference. No blog posting as we went along because the hotel wanted $15 a day for Internet in addition to the $14 a day for parking. Yeah, right!

All in all it was a pretty good week. We headed down to Tampa on Tuesday after picking up Parker and Wesley from school. We got to Hyde Park UMC just in time for a special clergy worship service led by Rev. Riley Short - father to our former pastor, Phillip Short, and also Daryl's preaching professor. Then it was time for Mommy's clergywomen dinner at Hyde Park, so the guys checked into the hotel (Embassy Suites attached to the Convention Center), unpacked, walked around downtown and grabbed some dinner.

Wednesday things started bright and early. Mommy had to be in the Convention Center at 6:45am for ordination rehearsal - she was one of the sponsors for her friend Charissa. We had the kids at Hyde Park for childcare by 8:30am and back in the convention center by 9am for clergy session. During the lunch break, Daddy worked the Shade and Fresh Water booth in the Expo (he's on the board for this ministry to clergy and their families). We grabbed a quick lunch at the center and were back inside the hall for the main business session from 2-5pm. After running to pick up the kids, we met Grandma at the hotel. She had brought Boston Market for dinner which we ate in the room and then Mommy and Daddy headed back for the evening worship to see Charissa be ordained.

Here's Charissa modeling her present from us and the Holdens - we commissioned a deacon's stole for her from one of the ladies in Mommy's church. The tree is a copy of the piece of artwork Charissa uses as her logo for her artistic ministry, Graceworks. The stole is reversible and the dragonfly is one of her favorite symbols.

Thursday we had breakfast with Bishop Fannin and his wife along with the others who will be accompanying us to England in just a couple of weeks. Several of the other pastors who have attended and are now trustees of this study tour were also there to talk about the trip. The boys had lots of fun during the day at childcare with their friend Will Holden while we spent the day in all the business sessions and voting. When we picked up the boys from Hyde Park we stayed there for the Young Clergy and families dinner. We wrapped up the day by spending time in the pool back at our hotel - it was on the third floor and could be seen through the glass atrium and glass elevators. The boys loved it!

Friday was more of the same. Lunch was spent with friends at the Columbia Cafe downtown. In the afternoon session after lunch, Mommy got to process in with the anniversary banner from Belleview UMC celebrating their 125th anniversary along with all of the other anniversary churches. The banner was made by the same lady who made Charissa's stole and all of the handprints were actually traced from real people in the congregation - Wesley and Parker's prints are on it too (it's the green banner in the front of the picture).

Friday evening Daddy stayed in the hotel with the boys while Mommy went back for the evening session with the bishop including the voting (there was no childcare for the evening sessions). We packed up later that night. Saturday morning we dropped the kids off at childcare, then raced back to load up the car and check out before going in for the business sessions. We fortunately were able to wrap up about 12:30pm. Then it was back to pick up the car from the hotel before 1pm and another day's charge for parking and off to grab the boys. We stopped in Ridge Manor on the way home and grabbed some lunch.

As usual the best part of conference, came not in the business sessions or voting but in the time spent hanging out and visiting with friends during and in between sessions. Now we have just a couple of weeks to get ready for our big trip to England......

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