I took a road trip with my mother to General Synod last month. This was my first General Synod. In fact, prior to May of this year, I did not even know what General Synod was! I had attended the Regional Youth Event in Grinnell, Iowa, last year, but since Synod was not specifically a youth event, I knew it would be very different. I had no idea what to expect.
The first thing I attended at Synod was an educational intensive on the global refugee crisis. This was one of many intensives that were offered, several of which related to social justice issues. I chose this intensive in preparation for one of the resolutions being considered by the Synod. I got a special opportunity the next morning to present in favor of the resolution with a group of 6 youth. We presented in front of the entire synod. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak to the national UCC regarding this important issue, which I feel very passionate about. The resolution passed with little opposition!
While I was at Synod, I had the privilege of participating in a protest March from the conference center to the ICE building in Milwaukee to protest the separation of immigrant children and their families. This was my first opportunity to participate in a protest March. It felt good to know that I was marching for what was right. It was a little bit tiring physically, but it was spiritually invigorating! My UCC background has always taught me to stand up for the least of these. Last year at the regional youth event, the main theme of the event was ‘Faith Equals Action’, and while it may not have been the theme of the Synod, it was certainly present there. This March allowed me to put my faith into action.
In the youth sessions, we sang with Christopher Grundy. We also discussed social and political issues. We heard presentations by several guest speakers and were able to ask questions. We also attended several plenary sessions with the adults and were part of all worship services. I participated as a light bearer in the final worship service that closed Synod. It was a very moving experience.
Some of you might already know that the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference and the Missouri Mid-South Conference are hosting the next General Synod in Kansas City in 2021, and while it might have been a 10 hour drive to Milwaukee, it’s a much shorter trip to Kansas City for Synod 2021. I’ll count on seeing each of you there! I will certainly be there, and I am hopeful that I will be able to convince the Plymouth Youth Group to participate. I hope you will join me as the United Church of Christ continues to work to be God’s light in the world.