So I have arrived for the 2009 Methodist Conference.
By "arrived" I mean I am now in Wolverhampton, well the edge of Wolverhampton. I have come with our caravan and am on a very nice CL (Certified Location: limited to 5 caravans) under 4 miles from Wolverhampton Civic Hall where the conference takes place.
This is more comfortable and a LOT cheaper than staying in some boring hotel in the centre of Wolverhampton. Instead of a cramped bedroom I have a 6 berth caravan to myself, plus Jane will join me for the weekend at no extra cost. Also at half past midnight I can listen to my iPod, make coffee and blog without disturbing anyone else.
Compared to a hotel I also have space to keep my bike inside and will get some nice gentle exercise riding in and out to wake me up in the morning and unwind in the evening. So far I have only brought my fixie but I might add an alternative later (I can fit several bikes in the caavan's "garage").
I guess the only disadvantages are that I can't keep nipping back to my room for bits and pieces and I can't "network" over breakfast. My solution to the first is via making friends with the communications team so I hope to use the Press Office as a base. As for the idea of networking over breakfast, personally I think I'll be seeing more than enough of Methodists in the rest of the day and evening.
The conference has three main sections:
Thursday afternoon and Friday. For presbyters only (Deacons do their own thing). Not been to one of these before.
Sadly I'll miss Friday morning as I need to go back to Raunds to take funeral for a much loved member of the Church.
Opening and Ordinations:
Saturday and Sunday are special occasions. On Saturday Conference formally opens and the new President and Vice President are installed (is that the right expression) and make their addresses. On Sunday there is worship when all the new ordinands (and a few extras transferring from elsewhere) are received into full connexion (put under the discipline of the Church) and then later in the day there are lots of ordination services.
For us this is a special weekend as an old friend from university, Dr Richard Vautrey, is becoming Vice President. Jane and I have been invited to party with the big wigs which should be a once in a lifetime experience (I don't think we have any other old friends likely to become Vice President).
The main conference business takes place from Monday to Thursday. The printed agenda is 653 A5 pages and I confess that I have not yet read it all. I'll blog what I can as we go through the week.
As with many conferences there is an active fringe to the Methodist Conference. I can already see that there are going to be difficult choices as many events overlap. As at my Ordination Conference two years ago I'll make sure to report on where the best cream cakes can be found (for timely information on that probably best to follow me on twitter).
Obviously the best place to keep track of what is happening at conference is right here at "42" But if you want some alternative view points then try the following:
- Methodist Conference website: They update it a lot during the week. All the agenda papers are on here as well as loads of other stuff such as:
- Twitter: A first for this year there are three main ways to keep track via twitter.
- Follow the official Methodist Conference twitter feed @MethConference
- Follow the unofficial Conference stream. This includes tweets from a number of people, me included. See @insideMethConf. You can see who wrote each tweet as (via @xwz) is added to the end of each tweet. This way you can discover new people to follow.
- People. Pop in and See Olive at the MET stand in the exhibition, I guess she will be doing some blogging as well.
- Blogs. Not sure yet who else is going to be blogging at conference. I know Mindy is there as one of the Northampton District representatives but don't know if she is planning to blog. If you plan to blog please let me know and I'll add you to the list.
Ok, finished my coffee so now time for bed.