I've discovered this past Conference that it really does me no good to be cynical about the motivations of the New England Conference.
First of all, I trust Bishop Weaver and I trust his plan for the Conference. It's not one motivated out of any political agenda, but out of his love of God and his deep desire to see growth in the UMC. He is so grounded in God.
By extension, and because of people I know on the Cabinet, I trust the Cabinet and the decisions they make. Bishop Weaver seems to be intentionally appointing people who are going to hold clergy accountable to doing effective ministry, and I really like that idea. Granted, I may not like some of their decisions in terms of where different pastors get appointed, but I need to trust that they are doing what they feel is best, and that they are doing so from a spiritual point.
I really feel like things are at a tipping point, and are beginning to turn around in New England. There's still a lot of hurt feelings and mistrust because of the merger between Conferences that happened more than 10 years ago, and things don't quite "work" yet, but we're getting there.
My biggest point of frustration and cynicism comes from the youth program, and here is where I am really struggling. Every time a Conference-wide youth program has been offered, it has failed...rather miserably, in fact. The one time when we had a Conference Youth Coordinator, he was essentially set up to fail in that position, and I strongly believe that. So I personally can't get over that feeling of "the Conference hates youth"...because it really doesn't. However, the program they currently have grates on my nerves every time I think about it, because (a) I don't think it's going to work and (b) I feel it negates everything that CCYM has previously worked to acheive. I will admit that I have a very deep, personal interest in the future of youth ministry in the Conference, so naturally I'm biased toward the structure with which I am familiar.
So this is a current struggle of mine. I figure it's best to wrestle with it now, seeing as in a few years I will be a part of that institution.