Greetings Rocky Mountain Conference and thank you for the opportunity to represent you at our 32nd General Synod.
General Synods challenges us to be fully open and present to the body of Christ in all its glorious diversity and messiness. It challenges our perspectives and asks us to think and love more broadly and extravagantly and appreciate being a part of a bigger body and voice.
We gathered in Milwaukee June 21-25, with 800 voting delegates, 1705 guests, and 129 youth registered. Over 4,000 people gathered for worship Sunday afternoon. While being surrounded by so many UCCers is exciting, this year an underlying tension seemed to be present. Be it discomfort with the leadership, Resolution 8 asking that the Faithful and Welcoming Churches (evangelical, conservation, orthodox and traditional churches) not be allowed exhibition space in the future, or simply the state of our country, I do not know why, but the atmosphere was not as electrifying as it has been in the past, at least for me.
Even so, there were highlights. First and foremost was simply being with our delegation and sharing the time with them. It was impressive what a presence the RMC is despite our small size. Our own Clare Twomey and David Bahr led committees which discussed specific resolutions before they went to the floor. Jenny Whitcher gave the speech to re-nominate John Dorhauer. Amy Petre-Hill was visible with WISE. Our Intermountain delegates, Uli and Daniel Su’a, also represented the larger Samoan UCC Network. Several of our delegates sang in the choir and of course our own conference minister, Sue Art was the past moderator of Synod 31 and our member in discernment, Robbie Carlson, was part of the Next Generation Leadership Cohort.
After hearing Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted, Poverty and Profit in the American City, speak, one of my book groups will be reading it for September. It was also amazing to see how three different artists – a painter, a poet, and a musician/songwriter – creatively reflected the tensions and the beauty of each day’s work.
When I reported back to my church on July 7, the number of people who shared their joy and excitement of past Synod experiences was heartwarming. My dream would be that everyone would be able to attend at least one Synod. Synod 33, in 2020, will be in Kansas City and someone at First Plymouth has already suggested we charter a bus. Maybe better yet, sometime we will have the opportunity to host one.
Again, thank you. Kay Grice