Imagine What's Possible. UCC General Synod 2011 - 4

July 4!  UCC General Synod!  Tampa!  And here are some highlights:
  • Missing a Plenary session:  Instead I spent some significant, refreshing time with a "fellow troublemaker" sharing hopes, dreams, struggles, and despair.  It's felt like we wanted to have this conversation for a few days here.  I'm glad we did today. (At the plenary session I missed, the UCC voted to affirm the common agreement on mutual recognition of baptism.)
  • Geoffrey Black's address:  He encouraged us and reminded us that "Change must happen if we are to lead the United Church of Christ into a vital future."  Geoffrey also offered some Big Holy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) to all of the United Church of Christ -- 
  • Be a growing church and a growing movement.
  • Be a widely recognized witness for justice and peace.
  • Be a catalyst for excellence in ministry.
  • Make environmental stewardship central to our faith.
  • Become a church that reflects the racial and ethnic makeup of our nation.
I like the direction Rev. Black and the Collegium wants our church to head.
  • Public protest march to Publix Supermarket in Tampa in support of the Immokalee Workers:  I marched with about 500 others together.  The UCC has supported the Immokalee workers in seeking fair wages for farm workers for more than a decade.
  • Unified Governance Debate:  The Synod delegates spent more than 2 hours working on this one today.  We began with a series of comments, clarifications, questions, and motions that were offered, I think, to  let voices of hope, anger, mistrust,  disappointment, and fear be heard. I'll remember this session at the "Your Amendment is Out of Order" experience.  We recessed for dinner in the middle of the proceedings, and when we came back, after a few more voices offering support and others offering caution and warning, the synod delegates voted to pass the Unified Governance proposal. Since the constitution of the UCC is being amended, everything now shifts to discussion and approval by the conferences of the United Church of Christ.  Today was a large step toward a new governance structure in the UCC.  It's not finished yet, however.
  • Worship:  After a contentious, but very civil plenary session, we experienced a refreshing, moving, tear-inducing prayer service.  We moved together, walked a simple labyrinth together, sang together, and wept together.
  • Fireworks:  I played a game of "there's one!" with a friend as we sat outside the Tampa Convention center and looked for fireworks in the distance.

Synod ends tomorrow.  Much more to do.  I'm doing a speakout! in the morning, too. I'd love it if everyone arrived on time. :)

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