Barbara's Blurb July 2015


Barbara Libby

7/6/2015

It is interesting to try to sum up what a week of the United Church of Christ 30th Synod (held in Cleveland, Ohio in late June of 2015) is really like! So hold onto your hat and here goes my effort to summarize:

  • Very long and full days of meetings, meals, conversations, and walks to and from our hotels…
  • Resolutions from across the country about a wide variety of topics that warranted multiple meetings to discuss, wordsmith, and eventually bring to the whole body for consideration, more discussion, and final votes by the delegates representing each of the 37 UCC Conferences across the country…
  • Powerful votes included ground breaking decisions about divestment and boycott of companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to the audacious task of converting our economy by 2040 from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, energy conservations, and energy efficiency…
  • An enormous Convention Center in the midst of the city on the shore of Lake Erie which offered both Plenary space (with massive stage and multiple viewing screens offering continuous visuals of every person at the microphones as well as folks in their seats) and an enormous Exhibit Hall (with displays of every UCC related topic and sales of all UCC paraphernalia as well as beautiful handmade stoles, international gifts, and lots of free give-aways)…
  • Powerful Spirit-filled preaching, theological reflection, music, dance, and worship with more than 3,000…
  • Flash mobs of Youth and Synod attendees enthusiastically celebrating the SCOTUS decision about Marriage Equality…
  • Ohio volunteers in blue t-shirts always available to answer questions and give directions…
  • Stuff the Pack Service Project that filled 1,000 backpacks and then had massive additional materials (including boxes of RI donations and a check from for $500) to continue this project beyond Synod…
  • Election of the ninth UCC General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, who suggests that our task may be to “prepare to fail” and “give yourself permission to take risks and then be there to receive the risk-takers with grace when they fail, and to learn from those failures and pass on what we learn to others.”…
  • Two minute Speak outs! on every imaginable topic…
  • A Search and Call Fair for Members in Discernment to talk with Conference Staff about employment opportunities in our conferences…
  • Special luncheons and dinner meals as well as Workshops on a wide variety of speakers (including Rev. Todd Grant Yonkman sharing his work with Beneficent Congregational Church in Providence and how to turn a congregation around)…
  • Laughter and tears around issues and topics that matter…
  • Shared moments and conversation among our Rhode Island delegates and Youth about what a remarkable denomination we are a part of and what amazing things we can do when we join our efforts with others in making a difference…
  • Remarkable RI staff and volunteers who gave of their time and energy to accompany nearly 30 young people to and from Synod safely and enthusiastically!
For all these Blessings I give thanks! Barbara J. Libby, Interim Conference Minister



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