Q&A with Phil Schroeder
Name: Phil Schroeder
Role: Clergy Delegate
Appointment: Connectional Ministries Office
Legislative Committee: Discipleship
Q: The sensitivity training section that took place Tuesday night is something new. How was that training?
A: It was a good reminder for those of us who are more assertive and hard-charging to be able to take-in all of those around us, and make sure that all the voices at the table are able to be heard. Sometimes we can get caught-up in our Western ways of doing things. Because of all the translations, and people trying to be in the conversation, I think that it is a good reminder to slow down and really look around to make sure that everyone is on the same page and has a voice.
Q: Were there any statistics that were offered that you could share?
A: The stats were helpful, yes. Four years ago, 28 percent of the General Conference delegation was from people outside the U.S. The international or world-wide delegation has now grown to 41 percent. These stats are helpful. I mean, it’s been amazing to see the force of the world-wide Church here. Just to see the number of people from around the world is amazing.
Q: With that stat in mind, it seems that the sensitivity training is important.
A: We all have our own cultural biases, but the way that we all think about things is very important in the life of the Church. This is a very fast-paced environment. No matter where you are from or what language you speak, it’s easy for any of us to get behind—we have to be sensitive to that. In a room full of people, it’s very easy for any of us to be overlooked. It’s vital that we have everyone’s voice in the conversation.
Q: I would think that would be very helpful in your legislative committees.
A: Yes, this will be very helpful when we all move into our legislative committees where there are up to 90 people in the room who have equal voice. I’m assuming that the conversation will be very quick. So I think that this training will be helpful.
Q: Another thing that is new is that the delegates are sitting at round tables.
A: I like it. It feels more like we are a part of a group. In years past, the tables were in a straight line. I would think that could be segregating and off-putting. It’s easier to have a conversation this way as opposed to have to talk to someone down a long row.
Q: This is your first General Conference. How are you doing and how are you taking care of yourself?
A: I’m doing great. I’ve been running in the mornings and I’m really glad that Tampa is flat — that’s helpful. I’m really trying to get enough sleep. Both of these are helpful for me to get ready for the day.
Q: Is it an honor to be elected by the North Georgia Conference to be here?
A: Oh, yes, it is an honor. It was quite shocking to be elected to be here. It’s still kind of unbelievable. I’ve visited the last two General Conferences as a guest, and never thought that I’d be standing here. I’m just really honored.
To read more about Phil, please find his bio here