Another General Synod has ended, and it was a delight to be in Milwaukee with KO delegates, Members in Discernment, Co-chairs for the 2021 Local Arrangements Committee, and visitors, including two youth. The weather was delightful in fact, I am so accustomed to being hot at a General Synod, based on the temperature when I arrived in Milwaukee, I was sure it had to be for a different meeting! I have assured people, that’s not likely to be the case in Kansas City in July 2021!
Everyone asks, “How was Synod?” and the answer is it depends on who you ask and what your past experiences have been. I think everyone agrees that the Wisconsin Conference was a great host; the volunteers were well organized, friendly and gracious. The business of General Synod at least the resolutions when the Synod was speaking to the world, was in my mind predictable. This is not meant to be a negative comment; only that it is clear where the General Synod is on the social gospel and it is easy to predict how the delegates will vote on most of the resolutions that are speaking to the world on social justice concerns.
Less clear and predictable is how the General Synod manages our own internal life and how our internal denominational life mirrors our external rhetoric and justice commitments. This was on full display as the General Synod wrestled with what is referred to as Committee 8 and in the re-nomination of the John Dorhauer for a second term as General Minister and President. Others have reflected on Committee 8 and you will read more about that in the reflections in the upcoming weeks in the “postcards. Here is a link so you will know what the resolution is all about https://www.uccfiles.com/synod/2019/resolutions/8-Stewardship-of-Exhibit-Space.pdf.
John Dorhauer was elected for a second term by a very narrow margin. Honestly, I am still processing this; again, this was not a surprise as there were questions about the re-nomination going into Synod. There was a request from the floor that John commit to not seeking a third term which he did, but still the vote was close; John exceeding the 60% threshold needed for election by only 30 votes. https://www.ucc.org/news_two_united_church_of_christ_national_officers_elected_monday_morning_in_milwaukee_06232019
My “postcard” at some point in the next three weeks will try and take a “balcony view” on both experiences that were big challenges for the General Synod.
For now, read how these delegates and a Member in Discernment and experienced Synod. This week, you’ll hear from:
Bobbie Henderson, Associate Delegate as KO Vice President who will give you a blow by blow account of just the facts of what happened each day
Then you’ll read the experiences of :
- Ellen Neufeld, delegate St Peter’s UCC, Inman, KS
- Michael Vollbrecht, delegate and Pastor at Peace UCC, Alma
- Pam Schonauer a Member in Discernment from Church of the Open Arms