Posted by: morgan1965 | June 5, 2011

Some Memories of Annual conference

I have fond memories of annual conference that date back to my childhood. Some of those memories are really stories that I heard about Conference. Each year, my father, a Methodist pastor, would go to Conference which was held at Tindley Temple Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The delegates stayed in the homes of the church members and ate their meals in the church’s social hall. Conference would meet from Monday through Sunday night. There was a lot of preaching and singing, as well as reports and debates.

When we lived in Chester, Pennsylvania, my parents would take us children to Conference on Sunday. Sunday Conference was an all-day affair in the Old Delaware Conference. Busloads of people would come from the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the Sunday service. It was like a homecoming, a kind of religious festival. The morning service always featured the Tindley Temple Choir which was a melodious singing group. The afternoon service was always the service of ordination. People, however, stayed until the evening service, because the bishop did not read the appointments until the end of that service. There was a previous time, according to my parents, when the pastors did not know their appointment until the bishop read the appointments.

My siblings and I enjoyed going to Sunday Conference, because we looked forward to seeing some of our relatives, especially our maternal grandfather. We got a chance to eat out, which was a rare occasion in our family. We liked to go to the dining hall next to the church that was operated by the Father Divine organization. There was lots of food to eat for a reasonable price. The gathered Sunday crowd was enthusiastic and joyful in part, because of the great fellowship. In many instances, folk would only see each other once a year.

Conference was usually held in April, which meant that pastors moved in the spring of the year. This was an odd time for pastors who had children in school. My father was moved from Chester, Pennsylvania to Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1951. This meant that my older brother and sister had to stay behind in Chester to complete the school term so that they would not have to repeat the year. Fortunately for my younger sister and me, we were able to make the transfer without incident. How strange it was to enter a new school near the end of the school year. My sister and I had the same experience in 1955 when we moved to Wilmington, Delaware.

I have enjoyed going to Conference over the years, even as a child observer. As a pastor, I have found Conference to be a time of inspiration. I always look forward to seeing all the people who gather at the seat of the annual conference.

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