; charset=UTF-8" /> How I Spent My Summer Vacation – or the UCC Synod in Tampa, 2011 : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – or the UCC Synod in Tampa, 2011

By Kathie Blakley, Redlands United Church of Christ

     Every two years the United Church of Christ comes together at different US locations for a grand meeting called the Synod. It is part witness, part carnival, part reunion, part democracy in action, part think tank, part learning, part worship, part action, and all UCC – an unique and valuable experience. Relying heavily on our heritage as a representational church, in which every member is to have a voice and the ability to act within the church, each geographical Association area sends representatives to network and to consider various issues that have come before the national body. This year, I was fortunate enough to be elected, along with 10 other lay people and clergy, to represent the Southern California and Nevada Conference, at the 28th Synod of the United Church of Christ.

     The joy of celebration was evident at this Synod immediately through the greetings of our Florida hosts, the “happy to see and meet you” air of people from all over the country, and the fun touches of everything from jokes to bubbles (ask me!). Worship was breathtakingly gorgeous and deeply meaningful, touching on ideas that rose from the Synod’s theme, “Imagine What’s Possible!”

     A vital and deeply important part of the Synod was the Representative Assembly during which we considered 12 resolutions, 1 formal motion, and 3 constitution and bylaw revisions, and voted on them. Each of us was assigned one committee with which we met to give us an in depth understanding of that particular resolution. We then reported our findings back to our Conference group caucus so we could all have an informed understanding of the issues. There were also many opportunities for individual study. In the structure of the United Church of Christ, every member is invited to vote their own conscience, and each resolution is intended to be a statement of the national Church, which the individual churches are to consider prayerfully and with due consideration, for their own work. However, resolutions that pass are not binding upon any individual church. From the resolutions in the past 50 plus years of Synod have come many of the building blocks that have allowed us to grow as an affirming, open, faith filled, and uniting church. You can find more information about the resolutions in the accompanying article and online at http://www.ucc.org/synod/.

     Additionally we had the opportunity to hear and vote to hire 3 new national ministers to the Collegium of Officers which is headed by our General Minister and President, The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black. The Collegium of Officers supports the Covenanted Ministries in carrying out their work. It is responsible for providing leadership for mission programming and for the proper implementation of General Synod actions.

     Our Conference (SCNC) was honored for being a conference which had met UCC goals of including Youth members in the Synod representation group, and for its growth as a Conference. We have added many new churches to our Conference in the last two years. This is a big boost for the areas of the country that have several UCC churches in each town, but are facing an aging and less churched population, and the closing of many once active and vital churches. I met several people from other areas who said how much they are inspired by the diversity and “new blood “of our Western Churches. They love us! Of course, they still told California jokes…

     There were many other interesting moments in Synod 28: the flash mob communion, the huge march to witness to workers rights which took place on 4th of July, exercise breaks during our long deliberation sessions, the famous (and at times infamous) home baked cookies, Sunday worship which included several thousand members of nearby churches, and many quiet moments of witness and love.

     The Synod is open to all.  We will be holding “The Synod of the West” in the Long Beach Convention Center in late June of 2013.  That means we will all have a chance to participate in many different ways in this unique experience that will be IOBY (In Our Back Yard) in less than two years. Please ask me if you have any questions, or anything you want to know more about from the Synod. And, of course, save the date!

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free