Recently I had the privilege of being a delegate for the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) held in Portland, Oregon. The General Conference is held every four years and encompasses the “business” of the church while reminding all those present on a daily basis that we are “the church” first. There are only a selected number of delegates elected by each annual conference that gather from all over the world. Each delegate has a responsibility to represent not only their annual conference, but their district, local church, tribe or village. It is my “unbiased” belief that the Central Texas Conference (CTC), which is my annual conference, had a good mix of age, race, ethnicity and gender along with different levels of experience and great leadership. While as a delegation we discussed the many petitions and resolutions and how they would affect the future of the church, overall we were still encouraged to vote our own heart and conscience. Many new friendships were formed. Existing friendships were strengthened. And unfortunately, there were some friendships I’m sure that were tested throughout the many delegations. I was asked by many different groups to share my thoughts, and I will be writing a series of blogs on my experiences at GC 2016 leading up to the CTC Annual Conference. I will write from varying perspective as my experiences will be viewed through the eyes of all that I am and represent. I will write as a first time delegate, as a Conference Officer of the United Methodist Women (UMW), as a District Lay Leader, African American female, wife, mother, grandmother and most importantly I will write as a child of God. I decided to approach it from this angle as I sat in the airport from a delayed flight and thinking about the many delegates, the multiple hats I wear and groups I identify with. Our faith walk is our own, as unique as we are and very personal and so with that, so are our perspectives. We often fail to recognize and realize that as brothers and sisters in Christ it is possible to take different roads, reach the same destination and still be loved by God. Understanding that we are all “God’s children” it will put a very different twist on our perspectives…..if we are truly open. Peace and blessings!