Name: Mathew Pinson
Role: Lay delegate
Local Church: Glenn Memorial UMC
Legislative committee: Financial Administration
Q: This is your third General Conference serving as a delegate. What would you want people to know who have never had a chance to attend this event?
A: It is important to understand the global nature of General Conference. You always have to be aware of the cultural context. It is important to remember to speak slower so the translators have a chance to do their job.
Q: How much change have you seen since you first attended eight years ago?
A: I am on the Financial Administration legislative committee in Tampa. On our sub-committee of 22 people, 11 were from the Central Conferences (outside the U.S.) There were four different languages spoken among the group. Eight years ago, when I was serving on the Local Church committee, there was one person from outside the U.S. on my sub-committee.
Q: What is the most challenging debate your committee faced?
A: It is hard for people to wrap their minds around all the details involving pension plans, and whether they prefer a plan with a defined benefit with a defined contribution compared to having a plan with a 100 percent defined contribution. That is something we debated for two days.
Q: What is your confidence level that delegates are taking seriously the financial challenges facing the denomination?
A: I have a great deal of confidence. And a lot of that has to do with the trust I have in GCFA (General Council on Finance and Administration). The GCFA has put a lot of weight behind some important work and I think the delegates are aware of that and believe we have a group of leaders who are worthy of trust.
Q: What was the tone like in your committee?
A: Very civil. People with interest in finances are generally competent and respectful of each other. I think the rules changes this year made a big difference. In the past, we could work well into the night, into early morning. People came to Tampa ready to make tough decisions, yet open-minded. There was a sense of urgency that we all responded to.
To read more about Mathew, please find his bio here.