Convocation speaker offers 'outsider' perspective on Cal-Nevada Conference

December 06, 2007

Sometimes it is helpful, one member of clergy noted, to get a perspective on our Conference from someone outside. “We may take it for granted,” he wrote.


The author of that statement had come across an article posted on a Beliefnet & Sojourners site by Diana Butler Bass, the keynote speaker at the Bishop’s Convocation of All Clergy in November. On the “God’s Politics” blog at, Bass wrote:


By creating global community in a room on the shores of Lake Tahoe, the Methodists of the California-Nevada Conference provided a hopeful example of what may be possible for the rest of us on a larger scale.”


“I am sure that good Methodists of the California-Nevada Conference will demur, saying how far they have to go and how imperfectly they practice diversity,” she prefaced. “But 40 years is a pretty short time to go from a fractured community fearful of race toward the room I experienced at Lake Tahoe. And it demonstrated to me the power of diversity as a Christian practice. If their diversity was merely a ‘program’ of the denomination, it would breed resentment and suspicion. But the level of trust in the room (we even talked about trust) indicated that their diversity went far beyond program – that it is a genuine attempt to enact Christian community in bringing together humankind through Jesus Christ. Their diversity was a practice of faith, an action that Christian people do for the sake of God in the world.”


Link here to read Bass’s complete article, “Diversity as Christian Practice – Not Just a Church Program,” about her experience at the Bishop’s Convocation. Beliefnet & Sojourners granted permission to the Instant Connection to quote from, and link to, the article.