I can't think of any better way to start a few days of church meetings than with a reunion!
Yesterday afternoon I took the pleasant 90 minute drive from Augusta to Athens for Annual Conference. The deacons of the conference always have a gathering the evening before conference, and enjoy a meal, a meeting, and of course, the best part is the reunion and fellowship as "old" deacons and new gather together. We had almost 60 deacons of the conference make their way to Winterville, just east of Athens, for the event. The last 3 years a church in the Athens area has hosted our meal, and we've found it to be a great way to "connect" with different churches and clergy, plus it's always fun to learn more about a church we may not have experienced. Of course, many congregations (even in "deacon rich" North Georgia) don't know about United Methodist deacons, so it's a good opportunity all the way around.
The deacons in my conference are an interesting, diverse order of clergy who range the gamut of specialized ministries in the Church and World. As we gathered we welcomed new clergy to the gathering, and celebrated with some who are retiring. We swapped stories and ate some incredible "home cooked" turkey, sweet potatoes, and more especially prepared for us by the pastor and his church. And then as we left the church to travel back to Athens, as day was giving way to night around 8:30, found ourselves driving in a torrential downpour complete with stoplights out & street flooding!
Let Annual Conference begin!!