Prayers for General Synod
On Thursday, voting delegates and representatives from the Illinois South Conference will travel to the 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Those representing our Conference at General Synod will be:
Josiah Accola, Rev. Debbie Jo Atkins, Rev. Philip Barbier, Mark Beckmeyer, Craig Bielke, Pastor Tim Powers-Reed, Eileen Hoag, Greg Lambert-Goheen, Rev. Dr. Lauren Lambert-Goheen, Amy Ratcliff, Rev. Michelle Torigian, Rev. Tarrah Vaupel, Rev. Dr. Don Wagner, and Rev. Jeremy Wood.
Debbie Kesner (Executive Administrator) and Rev. Shana Johnson (Conference Minister)
And ISC visitors and volunteers (that we know about so far):
Dr. Jill Baker, Rev. Steve Boorsma, Rev. Jennifer Sowell-Glover, Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul, and Rev. Stephen Stark
General Synod is the national meeting of the United Church of Christ. It is a remarkable event in the life of the United Church of Christ that is much more than a business meeting. General Synod is a gathering of staff members of the national setting, authorized ministers of the UCC (local church pastors, chaplains, and those serving in specialized ministries), and members of local churches of the 36 Conferences of the United Church of Christ.
Here is a brief overview of what happens at General Synod.
Worship at General Synod reflects the diversity and creativity of the United Church of Christ, from commissioned music, inspiring speakers, breathtaking visual arts, and invitational participation of those who gather in person and online.
Thought-provoking resolutions of witness
At General Synod, voting delegates will deliberate and vote upon resolutions of witness that groups throughout the United Church of Christ have written. Resolutions of witness speak to-- not for the whole Church on various topics. These resolutions are meant to be a way to challenge and inspire people to think and act differently.
Some resolutions our delegates will agree with and support, and other resolutions they will not. Some resolutions that will come before the General Synod may inspire our Conference to think and act differently, and some may not. The resolutions of witness are not mandates from General Synod for the local churches but rather invitations from General Synod to the local churches. Our Conference and each local church in our Conference can choose how we respond to these invitations.
Practical prudential resolutions
Prudential resolutions differ from resolutions of witnesses as they address policy, procedures, and governance issues. When considering and voting upon prudential resolutions, delegates will decide on the implications of how we do things in the United Church of Christ. For example, one prudential resolution will address the frequency of holding General Synod with the suggestion of moving it from every two years to every three years.
Yes, since this is a business meeting of the United Church of Christ, like at our annual meetings in the Illinois South Conference, your General Synod delegates will vote on budgets, a slate of nominees for committees of the National setting, and our national setting officers. This year, we will vote on a new General Minister and President of our denomination.
Workshops and Educational Opportunities
At General Synod, there will be plenty of workshops and educational opportunities for delegates and visitors to learn more about a particular topic or program they might consider for their local church.
The marketplace at General Synod is full of vendors and representatives from ministries and organizations throughout the United Church of Christ. It is a great place to learn about our health and human services, seminaries, and global ministries. It is also a great place to shop for pottery, books, inspiring t-shirts, and beautiful stoles.
Experiencing the fullness of the wider Church
The entire experience of General Synod is an opportunity to connect, collaborate, and experience the richness and fullness of the wider Church.
We sincerely ask that you keep the delegates of the Illinois South Conference in your prayers as they attend the 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ from Thursday, June 29, to Wednesday, July 5. The schedule will keep them hopping, so they need your prayers for energy and discernment.
They look forward to sharing what they learned and how it can benefit the mission and ministry of our churches in this Conference. Thank you for entrusting your delegates with this vital work of the Church.
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister