One of the joys of being Conference Moderator is the opportunity to lead our delegation to General Synod! In fact, on those occasions where the Ohio Conference six-year cycle of Vice Moderator/Moderator/Past Moderator starts to seem a bit long, I remind myself that it means that I get to go to General Synod twice, once as Vice Moderator and then leading the delegation as Moderator. While I don’t know this for sure, I suspect our two-year terms may have been established so that every Moderator would get this chance. Makes sense to me!
As you probably know, the UCC General Synod happens every two years and this year it will be in Milwaukee, June 21-25. This year’s theme is “Shine.” Click HERE to see John Dorhauer’s invitation.
If you’ve never been to Synod, you may wonder why I am so hyped about going. There’s no one thing…. Synod is where important business of the church is done as delegates consider the resolutions that have been submitted by churches, associations, and conferences. There are interesting speakers, workshops and exhibits. There’s an opportunity to make new friends and renew acquaintances with people you haven’t seen in years, or maybe since the last General Synod. And then there is the worship filled with inspirational preaching and fabulous music!
Delegates have already been elected by the associations and were confirmed at Annual Gathering but it’s possible there are still a few slots left if I’ve piqued your interest. You could check with your association office, if you are interested. And, of course, visitors are always welcome. I lost track of how many General Synods my parents attended, mostly as visitors. Much – maybe all – of Synod will also be livestreamed so you can watch in comfort from home.
The conference has scheduled two orientation sessions for our delegates for Synod delegates to help them prepare. The first one will be an overview that will be especially helpful for those that are attending for the first time. The second will dig into all of the resolutions that will be debated, modified, and voted on at Synod. It will help us all be ready to participate in the process.
Please remember in prayer all the delegates from Northern Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio as we prepare for our part in the work of the wider church. It is still several months away but each of us will have much to read and digest once the resolutions are posted. If it is like, there will be some that I will find very easy to make up my mind on, and others where there were difficult decisions to be made.
Once Synod is over, there is more for all of us to do. Many of the resolutions will call for actions by churches and church members so we are called to prayerfully consider how to respond.
With our polity, General Synod speaks to us and it is up to us to reach our own decisions. Some will be easy, but some we will need to wrestle with and listen for that still-speaking voice.
Blessings and peace!
Moderator, Ohio Conference