Breakfast conversations

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Our days are long at the CWA, so you’ll have to forgive me for my late posts to this blog. I’m going to try to get caught up through today, Thursday, in the next 24 hours. If you’ve been following the news and/or my Tweets

twitter.com/paulhardt

you’ll know it’s been an eventful CWA–in more ways than one.

One of the respites we have from our busy schedule of hearings, plenary sessions, quasi-committee of the whole sessions, etc. is our breakfasts and lunches.

Most of us meet in the ballrooms at the Minneapolis Convention Center,when breakfast and/or lunch is offered there. It’s very convenient, and we have some great meals.

We don’t have any assigned seats, so we just sit where ever we want. I don’t think I’ve ever sat at a table where there was another St. Paul Synod voting member, so we have a great opportunity to meet folks from all over the country.

During one of my first meals in the banquet style, I met Pastor Duane Miller, an “Intentional Interim Pastor” from West Des Moines, Iowa, soon to serve a church in the Southwest Synod of Minnesota. Duane is a really interesting person. He got his undergrad degree in Public Administration from Michigan State. What a great degree for the ministry! The more I see of the pastoring “business” the more I value the administrative skills pastors must have. Duane is also a certified parliamentarian, so we compared notes on a few of the parliamentary questions that would be coming before the assembly.

The best parliamentary procedure demonstrations I’ve seen in a long time (and I’ve been to a lot of political conventions and other events where parliamentary procedure is used) is seen at church assemblies. In the Lutheran Church, we’re very serious about it.

Another lunch mate from another lunch was Pastor Jon Rhodes from Rockford, MN. I met him in the concourse outside our assembly hall, when he was talking to our Pastor Cassie Nault, a seminary acquaintance of Pastor Rhodes. Jon and I had a very nice conversation about his work in an exurban community. It seems that Rockford is very much like Farmington, where Char and I lived for seven years. Rockford is experiencing some of the same challenges Farmington faced around growth and holding on the the old.

At lunch today, Pastor Pablo Obregon, Willmar, MN, gave me a lesson in “don’t assume.” I was sitting down at our lunch table, and Pastor Obregon sat down along side me. We started chatting about where we were from, and he told me he was from Willmar. I knew there were a lot of Latino immigrants in that area, so I asked, “Are you doing a lot of work with the immigrants in western Minnesota?” He said, with a straight face, “Yes, I am…the Norwegian and Swedish immigrants at the nursing home in Willmar. I’m the chaplain there.” We all had a good laugh…fortunately, he has a good sense of humor.

There’s is tremendous diversity in the people who are working with the Lutheran church in so many communities in the US. It’s great to meet so many of them.

Tomorrow–A Bolt of Lightning

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