Synod Reflections


Don Remick

7/3/2013

Synod is a unique experience that enlarges your territory.  The connections to concepts, ideas and people from all over the denomination and globe give a new context to our phrase 'No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here." 
 
There were a number of actions taken at our 29th Synod.  You can find the full text of these resolutions at UCC.org.   Read them, then consider something you can do about them.  Here are some thoughts, strategies and resources.
 
Compassionate Care of Veterans:  85% no longer attend church.  The rate of suicide is up to 22 per day.  Up to 67,000  are currently living on the streets.  Our churches are challenged to reach out and embrace them.  Visit web resources "Care for our Troops" and "Soul Repair Center
 
Immigration Reform.  This issue is a current, ongoing and challenging issue in our country.  Seeking to balance between compassion for human beings and appropriate protection of our borders, this resolution was recrafted at the Synod and is in a form you can forward along directly to your state and federal representatives.  (More)
 
Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. This doctrine was used to justify the conquest and genocide of native peoples.   Do you know we have a Council of American Indian Ministries which offers excellent resources for liturgy and conversation? (More)
 
Restructuring Conference Boundaries:  As demographics and finances continue to change, Conferences are finding new ways for collaboration and sharing of resources.  Conversations and creativity for this collaboration are encouraged. (More)
 
Divestment and other strategies:  One small but significant step to heal the earth.  A statement we hope will be heard around the globe, echoing the massive volume of scientific expertise, research and analysis as well as the tears of those from tornado scoured vacant neighborhoods from central Mass to Oklahoma to those whose lives will be changed forever by hurricanes from Sandy to Katrina.  (More)
 
Carbon Neutral Buildings:  One more small and significant step that keeps the earth ever greener.  And maybe keeps our buildings a little warmer in winter without a blanket of carbon emissions.  (More)
 
The Status of Women:  With all the progress that has been proclaimed and accomplished in the last several decades one would think this was passé.  Then you watch a legislator in pink shoes Filibuster to prevent the loss of reproductive rights.  And you see that equal pay for equal work is still a hope more than a reality.  Speaking to both the church and society we said we can do better and we must.  (More)
 
Seminary debt.   It can cost up to $700 a month just to pay the debt incurred by a seminary education. That's a sizable chunk of a pastor's salary.  Its not a very appealing prospect for those who sense God may be calling them.  The national setting of the UCC will be working on this initiative, but you don't have to wait. You can contribute right now to your Association's Scholarship fund.  
 
Outdoor Ministries:  I once saw it asked, "How many of the Ordained Clergy found their faith and calling at a youth camp experience?"   It was almost universal.  The experience of faith formation and practice in the glorious setting of creation is life changing.  As Conferences sell their assets to balance budgets we are losing an experience we are unlikely to get back.  Take a look at what is available and support it.  (More)
 
Gun Violence:  While there is a variety of perspectives on gun control, no one disagrees with the need to work to lower gun violence.  Nearly 100 children and nearly 5000 total deaths have happened on American soil since the tragedy at Newtown, CT.  (A number that exceeds the loss of soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan war)  Surely there is more we can do to move us closer to God's Peaceable Realm. (More)
 
Fellowship of Affirming Ministries:  This movement comprised largely of African American churches who believe in a radically inclusive welcome includes many UCC churches as well as churches of other denominations and no denomination.  The UCC is seeking to enter richer, deeper and more formal conversations on how we can collaborate and communicate together. (More)
 
Mission 4/1 Earth was celebrated for impacts that not only brought healing and restoration to the earth, but also cleansed and renewed human hearts. (More)
 
The net wealth of the top 400 people equals the net wealth of the lowest 150,000,000 on this planet.  
 
Is it not possible for the UCC to become carbon net zero by 2030?
 
Over the  bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late."
~ Martin Luther King
 
HUGs for Samoans:   The Samoan church is currently part of the Pacific Asian Islander Ministries.  They are a growing set of churches, some of whom seek to be recognized as an Historically Underrepresented Group, unique and separate from other Pacific and Asian Islander groups.  Even as more conversation needs to be held within the Samoan communities around this topic the UCC will move forward to implement the request and support that conversation.  (More)
 
Against Bullying and Violence:   How can you not be against bullying and violence?!  At our MACUCC Annual Meeting dozens of scarves were blessed from our Conference to the Synod:; from a Conference where bombs explode on sidewalks to a Synod of Conferences each with their own story of tragedy. They were among the more than 10,000 scarves at Synod that people could receive if they agreed to a simple pledge to stand against bullying and violence in all its forms, particularly with those in the LGBT community.  Go to the UCC website to sign the pledge and find resources. 
And yes, you've got to love things in alphabetical listing. (More)
 
Affordable Housing:  The housing market is up 12% from last year - it is an improvement, but not for everyone.  We encourage our government to do all its can to provide adequate funding for HUD in its efforts to provide shelter for the least of these.  (More)
 
Tax Reform:  Is there a way to tighten our tax codes?  That conversation has been central within the discourse of our country.  We encourage our churches to study the issue and advocate for fair and just tax structures.  (More)
 
Mountaintop Removal:  Trees grow back; mountains don't.  Once they are cut down they will not return. They leave a hole in the sky and poison in the streams. And lives are disrupted, displaced and discouraged in some of the most economically challenged parts of our country.  It is in our hands.  (More)
 
Drug related gang violence in Honduras:  It is an unseen and unheard fallout from the drug trade.  We learned a lot at Synod about the ways Jesus kept pausing, calling, stopping the crowds to enable them to see and hear the vulnerable and wounded around them.  There are voices who fear that the world, their government and even God has forgotten them.  We haven't. (More)
 
UCC welcomes UCC:  We formally voted to explore new connections and partnerships with the United Church of Canada...our neighbors, brothers and sisters, to the north.  (More)
 
840 delegates, 2944 total attendees, great voices singing, praying, reflecting, celebrating.  
 
Amazing worship with rousing music and preaching ranging  from classical  to hip hop rap gospel.
 
Brilliant theological reflections brought each plenary to a close.
 
We have a great denomination.
 
We have a greater God.  
 



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