What Happens in Vegas

The slogan, What Happens in Vegas Stays in
Vegas, puts an interesting light on a hearing conducted by the General Council
on Finance and Administration on the budget drivers of The United Methodist
Church.

Pardon me if I chuckle at this. The treasurers of the annual conferences of The United Methodist Church have chosen Las Vegas as the site of their annual meeting. The money people of the church meeting in a city not known for its self-restraint and responsible management of personal finance seems kind of humorous to me.

This is the same church that just changed the meeting place for its General Conference from Richmond to Tampa because Richmond has a minor league baseball club that uses a Native American mascot.

It’s also a church that has consistently taken a strong position against gambling and has refused to conduct its meetings in hotels housing casinos. But treasurers must do what treasurers must do.

Meanwhile, the General Commission on Finance and Administration, taking advantage of the assemblage of treasurers, has invited general secretaries and treasurers of general agencies (the international entities responsible for church-wide programming) to attend a “listening session” to hear what the treasurers of the annual conferences consider to be “budget drivers.” Are you chuckling yet?

I’ve attended these sessions before. I heard that money is tight. Life is hard. Health and pension benefits are killing us. We can’t survive if we keep on this track.

That we have been asked to meet in the city of strip shows and gambling casinos to consider how the gifts of the good people of The United Methodist Church will be managed causes me to, well, laugh out loud.

And we can’t talk about it afterward anyway. Remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

I’m straining to write this with less bite and satire. Perhaps it’s not necessary anyway. It’s ludicrous enough without embellishment.

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