I arrived in Portland on Monday morning. Folks from the Hospitality Committee greeted me at the entrance to the Baggage Claim area, helped me to find my bag, handed me a pass for the MAX light rail system, helped me board and even helped me as I exited! My hotel is about a five minute walk from the MAX stop, located in a mostly residential area of the city (But close to a cinema and a large shopping center.). After lunch, I walked the dozen or so blocks to the Oregon Convention Center where I was able to trade my credentials for my General Conference identification tag. After a little exploring, I headed back to my hotel via MAX and was enjoying the hotel-offered complimentary appetizers while waiting for my roommate, Delegate Katie Crise. The two of us headed over to the mall and had Chinese for supper, then came back to our room and settled in for the evening. Personally I tried to stay awake long enough to see the conclusion of one of my favorite tv shows, but fell asleep before the end -- not surprising since I'd been up since 5:30, and even thought it was only 11 here in Portland, it was already 1 am at home!

Following a breakfast here at the hotel, we again walked to the Convention Center. I was able to completely scope out the Cokesbury Store and made a few early purchases -- but will definitely be headed back to check out further bargains! I also checked out the exhibits in the exhibition hall and ran into Bishop Jung over in the Board of Global Ministries area. I chatted with folks at the UMW exhibit and learned that a new four-year calendar will be coming out for 2017-2020. Hooray! Following a quick sandwich I headed to a meeting for first time delegates. Opening Worship included an address by Bishop Warner Brown, Jr and Holy Communion. It also included a brief delay when one of the Bishops fell going up some steps and he was taken to a nearby hospital by the EMS personnel. We were seated in our assigned seats during worship; Wisconsin is in the row that is furthest from the stage (but closest to the food and bathrooms).

Our first session was called to order following Worship. We listened to presentations on "Authentic Engagement and Inter-cultural Competency" and Christian Conferencing. Directions were given on how to use the electronic voting system as well as the Queuing System that had been developed for letting the chairperson know if we wished to speak. Things seemed to be going as scheduled until we started to discuss Rule 44 which had been developed to enable discussion of selected petitions outside of the legislative arena. When it was pointed out that we had not approved any of the suggested Rules of the General Conference, and thus were operating under the rules of the 2012 conference, the Bishop chairing the session declared a break for supper at 6:55 (20 minutes past the initially suggested time for adjournment). Five of us from Wisconsin walked over to a local Subway, then ate in an area outside the convention center, The weather outside was beautiful. None of the area restaurants were really prepared for our descent upon them; it was bit like the locusts entering Egypt! The folks at Subway called in extra help and he was immediately told to start baking more bread.

When we returned to the convention center at 8 pm, we were able to approve the rules with Rule 44 left out -- and a promise from the Bishop to return to Rule 44 on Wednesday. A revised and abbreviated agenda for Wednesday was also approved, again with a promise to review the rest of the agenda later. We were then dismissed and crowded onto MAX for our ride back to our hotel.

Wednesday started early with 6:30 am briefing sessions at a local hotel. All six Wisconsin delegates met over breakfast, but then dispersed to various meetings. By 8 we were all back at our seats in the Convention Center for the opening worship with music by Signatur, a choir from Norway The episcopal address was given by Bishop Gregory Palmer. During the plenary session that morning we received several reports and elected the members of the Inter-jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy which includes Amanda Stein and Tom Popp from Wisconsin. We also had further discussion on Rule 44. At one point the body voted to table 44 by six votes. Later it was "untabled" by 30 votes. Discussion and debate followed until the Bishop referred all suggested amendments to the rules committee, effectively ending debate until they were reviewed.

Following lunch we met with our Legislative Committees. I had signed up for judicial administration and was joined by 52 other voting delegates. During our first two hours we introduced ourselves to the folks at our table, then discussed our local churches as well as the global church. During the second session we elected our chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary and three group leaders. Shortly before 5 pm we were released for the day.