June 7, 2011

Survivor: GC Election Edition

How many ballots does it take to NOT elect a young adult clergy person as a delegate to General Conference in Iowa? 


I shouldn't start that way. That's the tired exhaustion of a very long day.  I should start with the absolute excitement that our conference, today, on our 12th and final ballot, elected three young adult clergy persons as delegates to jurisdictional conference (and therefore as GC alternates) and has also elected two young adult laity as jurisdictional conference delegates and 1 youth and 1 young adult laity as general conference delegates. 

Yes, I'm harping on the young adults.  There aren't so many of us and we are the future of this church.  We are the ones who are going to have to figure out a way to be disciples of Jesus Christ in the next 10 - 20 years.  And we are ready and willing and able to start figuring this stuff out right now. 

For three days now, we have gone through ballots.  The laity had a much easier time of it, but with 42 clergy delegates and 7 spots, the journey was a bit slower for us clergy folk. 

At one point, a motion was made to eliminate any nominee who had less than 40 votes (will roughly 450 clergy voting, roughly 225 votes were needed for election).  Little by little, our options got fewer and fewer, solidifying our vote.

As a nominee, it was a very strange experience. 

I think I might have run for one elected position ever in high school. I don't think I won.  I was the president of the Religious Life Council at Simpson, but I can't remember if that was a peer-elected sort of thing or not.

Photo by: Hawkins

But to be on the ballot for 11 straight votes... and to see every single time your name up there on the projection screens with numbers behind it ... was nuts.  It felt like some strange, tamed down version of Survivor... 40 votes or less and you just don't make the cut. *piff* your candle is put out.

The thing that felt the most awkward about the whole thing is that there is no electioneering.  No campaigning aside from the bios. We couldn't throw our support behind other candidates or talk about why people would make excellent choices - except amongst the people you chatted with face to face. No comments about the slate as it came up.  No arguments were supposed to be made about the fact that the first three folks we elected were all middle aged white men (although someone slipped that one in... and although they will all be wonderful delegates) or that we elected absolutely no delegates under the age of 50 (at least as I have been told).  So I sat there, and people kept coming up and saying - I voted for you because you are a young adult!  and  I had enough votes most times to just keep pushing on... and by the end, although I felt like withdrawing my name so that we could at least reach a consensus on the final GC delegate, I couldn't because it felt like I was carrying all of our young clergy hopes and expectations on my shoulders. 

At the end of the night, I ended up being elected second as a jurisdictional delegate from Iowa.  I think that also means I will have the honor of serving as a general conference delegate and all of my nerdy, conference loving, legislative tweaking, holy conferencing excitement is peaked.  But it is also humbling and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to speak and to vote as a delegate from Iowa. 

Congratulations to everyone who was elected!!!


  1. Congratulations, Katie. I was hoping you would slide up there and get in, but alas. As long as your name was there you were on my ballot. And not Just because you were a young adult, but because I has read your heart here and thought you would be a good voice to hear.

  2. Congratulations, Katie. I know you'll be a great blessing to your delegation.
    It took us Alaskans 18 ballots to finally decide on our one spot. I agree. It is unsettling to see numbers after your name like some horserace. I look forward to seeing you and the rest of the Iowa delegation at GC.