For a second year now the yearly meeting of our Conference will happen with us sitting each at our own desks. As far back as I remember, Annual Conference was like a family reunion. In my childhood, I remember being greeted with hugs too tight by my dad's colleagues and spouses. They were his best friends.
After I became clergy, it was a time to both see old friends and meet new colleagues, some of whom would become part of my own inner circle. Very little of the bonding happened in the meetings, but in the break rooms, at lunch, and in going for pie after the day was done. Of course none of this has happened now for two years. We are no longer bonded with one another very well. We are not meeting or welcoming new ministers into our circles, unless they are text-based circles.
The loss of connection is making the coming denominational division less emotional. If I am disconnected with colleagues, I have less feeling for seeing them go in different directions. The pain of separation has been blunted, since we are already separated.
I am aware that something similar is happening in other avenues. We see each other less, we feel less for one another. It's something to work against. It will take intentionality. It's up to each one of us to engage in keeping connected.