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Put Yourself in the Picture: Synod 2013: Story IX: Aha Moments

Put Yourself in the Picture:  Synod 2013

     Why do UCCers gather together every two years, traveling long distances to plunge headlong into the intensity and immensity of a General Synod?  Why should YOU attend?  What’s in it for YOU?  

     Gregg Brekke, Editor of the United Church News, summed his “why” up succinctly when writing of his very first Synod in 2009.  “We seek an experience of God’s peace – through worship, renewed connections, new relationships and an immersion into our identity as people of the UCC.”

     The editors of Connecting Voices recently asked a number of past attendees (delegates and visitors, clergy and laypeople alike) about their “whys” and their Synod experiences – what “coming together” meant to them.  Their responses will be presented in a series of mini-articles over the next few months.  We hope that, stirred to “go and do likewise,” YOU will join us at Synod 29 in Long Beach, CA.

Aha Moments:  Synod Story IX
by Diana Owings, Neighborhood Congregational Church, Laguna Beach

• Feeling connected to and embraced by a global faith community. 
• Moving and energizing worship services filled with music, dance and thought provoking ideas.
• Lots of cookies – everywhere.  Many of which I ate. 
• A Flash Mob communion – while I didn’t actually witness this in person, I did see the video. 
• The Honored Laywomen’s luncheon – it was a wonderful celebration.  As an honoree, I was fortunate to have Jeanne Favreau Sorvillo, Felix Villanueva, Keith Clark, Paul Tellstrom, Pastor of my home church (Irvine United Congregational Church; Bill Cunitz, CEO of Pilgrim Place; fellow honoree Janet Vandevender and her husband Paul Kittlaus and my sister, Kathy Zaragoza there to celebrate with me.  It is an honor I will never forget. 
• A workshop presented by Mr. Arn Chorn-Pond, who as a child survived the Cambodian Khymer Rouge.  His story was heartbreaking, devastating and ultimately uplifting. 
• Another workshop by Adam Davidson who is a correspondent in International Business and Economics and a producer for NPR.  He has won every major award in journalism. It was the most thought provoking experience of the Synod for me and I’m still digesting the information he presented on the decline of the American economy, his concerns about the economic future of our country and his thoughts on what a church denomination can do.

     Diana Owings attended General Synod 28 as an Honored Laywoman from the SCNCUCC.  Diana was born in Corona, CA and attended Vassar College and the University of California, Berkeley.  She is married to Robert H. Schorman Jr. and has two grown twin daughters, Megan & Jennifer.  Diana retired in 2010 from a 34 year career as an executive with the State of California Franchise Tax Board.  She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Pilgrim Place, a senior community for those who have served in religious and charitable organizations in Claremont, CA.  Diana is a member of the Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach.

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