Monday, July 12, 2021

Virtual Synod

This week, the 33rd General Synod of the United Church of Christ is meeting virtually. The decision to move to an online format was made last year, regardless of how far along any resolution of the pandemic had come.

My first General Synod was 20 years ago in Kansas City as a young adult delegate. I have many memories of that gathering. It was the last of several that had been arranged to be a joint meeting with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A certain hate group from Kansas protested across the street for part of the time, and the youth's response was to write positive and affirming chalk messages on the sidewalk. I was about to enter seminary and was incredibly wide-eyed about the entire experience.

I’ve attended all but three Synods since then, and each has been memorable in its own way. In 2005 I was privileged to be part of the vote to affirm marriage equality. In 2007, we celebrated 50 years as a denomination. In 2015 I concluded my service as co-moderator of the 2030 Clergy Network.
This year’s Synod was again supposed to be in Kansas City, and I was looking forward to it being a kind of full circle moment since it would be my first as part of national staff. Of course, plans changed, and instead I’m attending via my “mission control” station in my studio, complete with two screens and lots of alternating between water and coffee. I still anticipate a memorable week with friends and colleagues from across the country, even if I can't catch up and share hugs in person.

Happy Synod, UCC. Let us be about the work of peace and justice to which God calls us.