GS28 Day 4: Abstract/Reality

by Jean Lenk


By The Rev. Jean Niven Lenk
Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Stoughton, United Church of Christ.
Synod Delegate
It is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. And while many Americans are celebrating our nation’s democracy by enjoying such traditions as fireworks and barbecues, today I join almost a thousand other GS delegates in participating in a democratic process.
Democracy in the abstract is exhilarating – freedom is a gift; the right to vote cherished; the ability to worship and speak and live as we so choose beloved aspects of our country.
But today, the democratic process has, in the reality, been…. tedious and tiring; the debate sometimes contentious and uncomfortable; the amendments and appeals and procedures sometimes confusing. Such is the hard work of a democratic system.
And in an ironic twist on this Fourth of July, our electronic voting system has encountered a number of glitches. (Back to holding up our delegate cards.) 
While our country is built on a democratic framework, I would not call the UCC a “democracy.”  Indeed, as I say at the beginning of every congregational meeting at the local church I serve, we are to vote – gathered and guided by the Holy Spirit – not our will, but what we discern to be God’s will. 
In the votes Synod takes tonight and tomorrow, may the Holy Spirit who has gathered us continue to guide us in our work, our discernment, and our decision-making.

Jean Lenk

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