; charset=UTF-8" /> Put Yourself in the Picture: Synod 2013: Story X: United and Vibrant : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

Put Yourself in the Picture: Synod 2013: Story X: United and Vibrant

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 have been presented in a series of mini-articles over the past few months.  We hope that, stirred to “go and do likewise,” YOU will join us at Synod 29 in Long Beach, CA.

United and Vibrant:  Synod Story X
by Kathie Blakley, Redlands United Church of Christ, Redlands, CA

*Where did you see God at work?

I felt that God was working through the Synod delegates as we learned about and considered the different resolutions.  They covered a broad range of different proposed actions and affirmations, and few of us had expertise in all areas. So we came into the process with open minds and a real need to learn before we could make decisions. It required good work – and everyone seemed willing to do it. Going through this process, I was struck by how changes occurred in our understanding and thinking because God was speaking through the people and events of Synod.

*Was there any one story or event that was particularly reaffirming or uplifting for you

Each worship experience seemed to be a “mountain top experience” for me. To have a huge congregation for the Sunday afternoon Worship Service which included not only the registered Synod attendees, but busloads local church members who came in just for that day, was hugely inspiring. The worship services were beautiful and very meaningful.

*If you were a first-timer at synod, what surprised you the most?

This was my 2nd Synod, but the first one as a delegate. What I found surprising was that my earlier experience as a “guest” rather than a delegate was a valid and interesting experience. Being a delegate changed the experience, and required more work out of me, but at both Synods I felt welcomed and positive reinforcement.

*What was the one thing you learned at Synod that made you so excited that you couldn’t wait to share/implement with your church?

I deeply felt the unity and vibrancy of the United Church of Christ coming together to work, play, and celebrate.  What I have been striving to do in my local church is to keep us “plugged in” to the larger church.

*What was unexpected?

The flash mob dance was a welcome surprise!

*Where was it frustrating?

The joy of so much to choose from, so many different opportunities, so many events and people to experience was also the most frustrating thing.  There simply was not time or energy to do it all.

*How Synod changed my life?

I don’t think that it changed my life. It did reaffirm my love for the Church, its people, and the world as a whole, and inspired a recommitment to build my life positively and help others as well as I can.

*What would you want to see done in 2013?

I hope for great worship services again and a chance to learn, evaluate and decide issues that are of importance to the church today. I also would really like to see the fullest participation possible from our local Southern California-Nevada Conference churches so everyone can receive the benefit of the Synod experience and share it with others.

Kathie Blakley was a 1st time Synod Delegate from the SCNC Eastern Association. Kathie was born in Pasadena, California and attended college at the University of Redlands. She is married to the Reverend Richard Blakley and has two grown sons. Kathie is a founding member of the Redlands United Church of Christ where her major interests are in Wider Church Ministries.  She is a member of the SCNC Eastern Association Executive Committee and will serve as the Association Moderator next year.

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