General Synod 2019

General Synod 2019



I spent June 21 – June 25 at General Synod in Milwaukee, which was five full days of Synod experience! I think I could do the walk from the Hyatt Regency hotel room to the convention center in my sleep, and I bet Zoe could, too (well, she still scoots).

If you haven’t heard about General Synod before, it’s the bi-annual national gathering of the United Church of Christ. I’d heard lots about it from friends, but this was my first time attending.

Synod is a combination of worship and guest speakers, plenary sessions in which resolutions are voted on, workshops, and wandering through exhibit hall booths. Throughout it all is the opportunity to connect with old friends and make new ones.

Speaking of, I had a brief but meaningful chat with Rev. Tony Clark, who is now Minister for the Committee on Ministry Development and Leadership, part of the “Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization” team, at the national setting of the UCC in Cleveland. Tony was busy working in the Exhibit Hall for much of the conference. He sends on his greetings and best wishes to us all!

Resolutions that spoke to my heart and educated me included: a Witness resolution against private prisons, a Witness resolution about the use of Styrofoam, and a Prudential resolution about figuring out the basic unit of life in the UCC into the 21st century (is it always, or even often, a church?). I was also inspired that we voted to become the first denomination to endorse the Green New Deal. And there was a great off-site event called Pub Theology Story Telling, based on The Moth!

Attending Synod helped me remember what is true about every single UCC church: not everyone agrees with one another, but we find a way to co-exist in love and good humor. There were many difficult moments of debate during the plenary sessions (I’m happy to share more if you’re curious!), but the overall tone was one of urgent love in this important moment.

I’m grateful to ACC for funding my Synod registration fee. And now, I’m super glad to be back home! We have lots to look forward to this weekend.

Rev. Nate