This weekend was the diocesan council here in Nebraska.
Since I wasn't a delegate, I didn't have any votes or anything, but it didn't seem to matter much. There was only one session of balloting, and the other votes were taken viva voce. There was just one resolution (which was about the environment), and it wasn't discussed or debated at all.
At first I thought it was silly to not have any real 'business.' It felt like a great waste of time to just get together, many people driving long distances (the drive for me was eight hours) to get there.
Later on, though, it became apparent that 'business' wasn't really the point. Yes, it had to be done; numbers had to be presented, ministries celebrated, and the usual courtesy resolutions; however, there was a lot of community building going on. I got to spend time with the delegates from a very small church in a very small town. Council brought us together for fellowship. I would never have had the chance to just sit and talk with people from far across the diocese if we were focused on 'business.' After fierce wrangling over resolutions or budgets, would we have had enough good will and energy to share table fellowship?
It may have felt like we weren't getting anything done, but connections and relationships were made, repaired and strengthened.
That isn't to say there's no risk in handling convention this way; it could be that healthy debate is stifled for 'unity.' Given that I've only been here for a handful of months, I can't say either way for certain, but from my limited perspective it seemed that people were happy to come together.