Below are details from 32nd General Synod, shared by Rev. Worley:
The Thirty-Second General Synod of the United Church of Christ met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ending a week ago today. More than 800 delegates, including 32 from PSEC, and 1500 visitors gathered around the theme “Shine!” – let your light shine before all people (Matthew 5:16). The music, worship and artistry were, in keeping General Synod tradition, AMAZING!!! The work of the national church can seem far away from the local church pew, but there were conversations at Synod that will affect the life of every UCC congregation. Among them were clear calls for a Manual on Church like our current Manual on Ministry, deep convention about the negative effects of local church autonomy and what (if anything) to do about that, and core identity questions at the heart of conversation about the inclusion of both the Faith and Welcome movement, Open and Affirming ministries and all theological positions in-between.
Through the resolution process, Synod delegates spoke to our UCC churches by voting to:
Support a ‘listening campaign’ to address resolution process
Recognize the Mental Health Network as a Historically Underrepresented Group
Call for the UCC bylaws to be revised with non-binary gender language
Condemn acts of violence and bigotry in the U.S.
Call the U.S. to pull back from brink of nuclear war
Denounce acts of white supremacy
Address the global migration crisis
Engage in conversations over Jesus’ call to “Follow me”
Replace 3 Southern New England conferences (Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) with 1
Urge action on the opioid crisis
Urge Congressional hearings to address violence in America
Become advocates for the Green New Deal
Delegates celebrated the ministries of retiring leaders Rev. Jim Moos (Associate Executive of Global Ministries) and Don Hart (Executive Director of the United Church Fund). They learned that the “Clergy Debt Task Force” is expanding and changing scope; that America’s oldest press, Pilgrim Press, is in the process of being relaunched; AND that the 3 Great Loves Campaign will continue to 2021. More than 500 delegates and visitors marched through downtown Milwaukee in a rally calling for a change in policies that separate immigrant families.
General Synod delegates also approved overwhelmingly the nomination of the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson to be Associate General Minister of Global Engagement and re-elected Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, for a second term.
This is just a very brief overview of a week that was packed with people bringing the Christ light to what feels like an ever-darkening world. Synod 2021 is going to Kansas City, Missouri. If you have never been, plan now to attend! It is, outside of your church, one of the best things the United Church of Christ does to witness to the good news of the gospel!
Rev. William Worley