General Synod

#UCCSynod: Rise and SHINE!

Holly Norwick


The morning brought a buzz that resounded from the lobby of the hotel. I didn’t have anything scheduled for my time this morning but there was still so much to do. It was time to Shine! So, as instructed, I put on my Massachusetts Conference Shine! t-shirt that we were given as delegates and made my way toward the buzz. Some were still arriving, adding to the growing hum of welcome bags, hugs, and shouts of allegiance as Shine! t-shirt after Shine! t-shirt congregated together. Lots of colors ...

#UCCSynod: Welcome to Milwaukee!

Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager


My taxi driver and I  made a surprising connection this morning en route from the airport. His name was Mustafa and he talked while driving and smiling about all of the great sites to take in here in Milwaukee. We learned about the best cheese puffs, Harleys and the best brews. When I commented that his Middle Eastern accent was familiar to me, Mustafa said he came from Jordan originally. I’d recently returned from an interfaith trip through my church to visit voices of conscience in Palestine, ...

#UCCSynod: Blessings

Holly Norwick


The 8 o’clock hour here in Milwaukee offers a quiet excitement as I sneak by the check-in tables and make my way to the counter for my room key. It’s easy to avert recognition looking like I do after the 5-hour drive – hair in a fallen ponytail, eyes puffy from the thoughts that accompanied me along the way. The excitement was a welcome transition after the ache of the drive just hours after sitting my 11-month-old down at gramma’s house next door in Minnesota, trying to explain mommy’s work in ...

#UCCGS: W.P.W. Three Great Loves & A Just World for All

John White


W.P.W. is my sermon title for my first Sunday back in the pulpit following General Synod 2017, the biennial meeting of the entire United Church of Christ (UCC). Can you guess what it means? Take a minute. Give up?

United Church of Christ Declares a New Moral Era

James Antal


It was a big claim: “Imperatives for a New Moral Era.”    It was a big ask: to “resist all expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and demand new sources of renewable energy that are accessible to all communities” and to write a new story for America – “a story that is not dependent on fossil fuel or on wealth for the few and misery for the many.”   It demands that the church itself “bear witness.”  Unlike so many resolutions passed at Church gatherings, instead of criticizing the injustice of ...

#UCCGS: Synod as Discipleship

Amelia Nugent


Over the course of the past week I have fallen in love with the United Church of Christ all over again. Watching the church, in all our multiple, beautiful, sometimes contentious contexts, worship, sing, pray and work together to discern our outward priorities for the next two years reminded me why this church is my home. Our commitment to be united in Christ binds us to one another, even when we don’t agree. I do not like all of the decisions we came to this week, and I know I am not the only ...

#UCCGS: We Try SO Hard. We Still Make Mistakes

Tiffany Vail


I don't often write blog posts about my personal experiences. In the 20 years I've been doing Conference communication work, I've put most of my energy into telling the stories of others, or empowering them to tell their own stories. But I am on the train returning from my first United Church of Christ General Synod, and I feel the need to share my own perspective. What struck me the most at Synod was how hard everyone tries to live out what it means to be a multicultural, ...

#UCCGS: Contemplation and Action in the United Church of Christ

Matthew Carriker


I grew up in the United Church of Christ (UCC), and was confirmed as a UCC youth in the First Congregational Church of Natick, MA. One might find it surprising then that in my younger years, I didn’t know what the UCC was.  I just knew that my home church was a “Congregational” Church.  I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention in confirmation class.   It wasn’t until seminary that I became familiar with the history, theology, and polity of the UCC.  And I was proud!  I was proud of the social...

#UCCGS: The Colors of Synod

Marisa Brown-Ludwig


As I arrived here at the Baltimore Convention Center on June 30th, I realized I’d started breathing more deeply. I was more relaxed. I felt like myself in a deeper way. It took me a full day to realize what it was – I had landed in a wonderfully diverse city, at a church gathering with people from many cultures and languages. Since moving up to Western Massachusetts, I have missed living and working amidst an urban mix of peoples, and so I felt relief at being back in a major city where more of ...

#UCCGS: What good does a resolution do, or, so what?

Mark Longhurst


Here’s my confession: the impressive lineup of Synod speakers inspired me much more than the resolutions. Yet most of the duties of a General Synod delegate include deliberating and voting on resolutions. Some this year’s fifteen resolutions are governance related, but most are issues-based. And the issues represented truly span the gamut, from supporting adult survivors of child abuse to ending the US embargo on Cuba.   As a first-year delegate to Synod, I have the opportunity to ask some basic...

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