General Synod began on Friday, June 21, 2019 with the nomination of the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, former Minister of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the UCC, to the position of Associate Minister for Global Engagement and Co-executive of Global Ministries. Rev. Thompson replaced Rev. James Moos in this position. Rev. Moos was honored at Synod for his 8 years of service in leadership in the Wider Church.
If you want to see and hear Rev. Thompson’s nomination and acceptance speech, it is available at synod2019.org, plenary session 2, starting at about 50 minutes in. Rev. Thompson sets forth her understanding of her call and the work of the wider church in the world. She is thoughtful, spirit-filled and hopeful about the future.
On Saturday morning, the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer was re-nominated to serve a 2nd Term as General Minister and President. Rev. Dorhauer talked about the importance of the Holy Spirit in his understanding of leadership and in how we are to be church. I recommend his acceptance speech to you as I found it both honest and clear on his understanding of his call and where he sees the Holy Spirit leading our mission focused national setting. You can watch and listen to this at www.synod2019.org plenary session 3, about midway through. I also recommend you listen to the debate on the floor preceding the vote in affirmation of Rev. Dorhauer’s nomination. That can be found at www.synod2019.org plenary session 4.
There was a celebration of the ministry of Don Hart, President of the United Church Fund as he retires from service. Don has been a generous and inspiring leader in socially responsible investment in support of the mission and ministry of the United Church of Christ. Charles Buck has been elected to fill the “big shoes” being left by Mr. Hart’s retirement. I have met Charles and can say, confidently, that he is up to the challenge. The United Church Fund accepts institutional investments and will be offering the Just World Fund in this near future. This will be a fixed income fund that will invest in global and domestic development. The investors in this fund will benefit from an opportunity to invest in inclusive finance (impact investment) and provide financial capital products to those traditionally excluded. Investments will attempt to address: global economic justice, fair and adequate housing, human rights to water and nutrition, and solutions for environmental security. One of the first vehicles the Just World Fund will invest in targets poverty through access to solar lighting and fuel efficient cook-stoves to families living in the developing world. These social initiatives are just two of the strategies deployed within the Just World Fund which will serve the dual purpose of addressing inequality and providing environmental solutions.
There were a total of 17 resolutions presented and discussed by the General Synod from subjects concerning the environment, immigration, civil rights and following Jesus. Stay tuned for further reports on these Resolutions throughout the summer.
Respectfully submitted by Beth Walker