Tuesday, June 30, 2009
- Karaoke on the last night with a bunch of UCC YA's - including a stirring rendition of Joy To The World!
- "Carbon Neutral is death" - MN Delegate and Scientist, Phil
- Karen S-S's way of expressing confusion and frustration at the same time
- Al T's smile and humor
- My awesome roommate Jennifer and our illuminating talks - it was a blessing to have a roommate who was willing to put up with my late nights, blogging and mess!
- Abby and Jake - both with their inspirational personalities
- My new MN Conf. friends Nick, David and James
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Just had a lovely speech from Eugene Robinson - journalist, author, pulitzer prize winner - following our Worship. He spoke on Black Identity in America, which is the subject of the book he is currently writing.
I found the speech interesting after our talk this morning with Yvette Flounder, who is self-described as being on the edge of multiple minority groups. Mr. Robinson was saying that, although, blessedly, the gap between white americans and black americans has narrowed, the gap within the black community between the haves and the have-nots has widened.
We are asked this Synod to think a lot about representation and trusting those who are asked to speak on our behalf, even if they themselves are not strict representatives of our demographic(s). I thought of this when Mr. Robinson spoke about the unknowing assumptions that were made regarding supreme court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor's past comments on race and the law.
He said that the conscious assumption is that there is a screen she, and other marginalized people, have to look through, and that it clouds their judgement; the unconscious assumption is that some people *cough straight white men cough* don't have a screen, and therefore have unclouded judgement.
I think you can see the problem there without my spelling it out.
So, some interesting stuff to think about!
We have the fun of River City Saturday now, but I am taking a little break before getting into that to take a nap, so that I'm ready to face the interesting workshops of the afternoon. I'm thinking.. Jim Wallis and the West Michigan Gay Men's Chorus, for now, and maybe some more in between!
written at 8:39am
This morning my roommate, Jennifer (not upset by the late night blogging, btw), and I were woken by the hotel alarm - not set by either of us - 2 minutes before our own alarms went off (creepy, no?). We had to be at a breakfast caucus at 6:30am! It was a good breakfast (thanks to the Amway Grand!) and a very informative meeting! Yvette Flounder from San Francisco came to speak with us about the Single Governance resolutions; the big talk of the synod.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Single Governance:
- currently 88 members of executive council
- pros of current model: LOTS of representation - the current model tries to include representatives from as many minority groups as possible
- cons of current model: too many cooks, not enough communication/trust/covenant between the different boards (4 separately incorporated ministries; Justice and Witness, Wider Church Ministries, Local Church ministries, Office of General Ministries)
- We got friendship bracelets in still speaking colors made for us by delegate Lisa Lindesmith, so we can more easily recognize each other
- Meeting tonight after worship for "provisions" in Karen S-S's room! As Grand Rapids told its businesses in a memo, "The UCC is not opposed to alcohol." In other words, stock up!
Today we have River City Saturday - a day of workshops, entertainment and fellowship. I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet, though I'm afraid I'll need to skip some things to take a nap! This morning we are Worshiping again in the Plenary hall with the Coalition Choir (among others) providing music. So far so good! I better get to it - I need some church this morning! Can I get an Amen?!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Whew! I can't believe I've only been in Grand Rapids for a little over 5 hours!
Being a first time delegate is not easy, let me tell you! There's been a lot of uncertainty for me in the last few hours; trying to figure out where I'm going, who I'm supposed to talk to, where to sit! oy!
Still, it's been exhilarating, and the first Plenary session reminded me why I agreed to do this in the first place - seeing all these UCCer's in one place, coming together to work towards a common goal of creating a denomination, and, thereby, a world, we can be proud of. Enough to bring tears to my eyes.
And it did. A few times.
Okay, I was gonna tell you about all the (boring) business talk that went on... but I have to tell you about my favorite part so far!
One of the newer traditions at Synod is to recognize all the new church starts that we've had since the last Synod (they happen every two years, in case you were wondering). This time around there were 70 churches to celebrate!
70! Woohoo! Seeing all the people parading up to the stage, carrying signs with their new church's name; the excitement of the processors and the crowd; the corny music - it all came together, and I definitely welled up a few times.
There was even a big bunny! The bunny was there to illustrate the way churches can multiply. We learned that:
Vital Churches Multiply!
Some of the other things we heard about:
- Credentials Committee encourages Conferences and local churches to increase the Under 30s membership, as well as the membership of People of Color - this was approved - duh!
- No more printed UCC news after September - online and a twice-yearly magazine instead!
- Speech from the nominee for Officer of the United Church of Christ and Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries - this was very inspiring, and made me want to go home and reach out right NOW!
Well, that's about it for now. Wait, there was one more thing...
Oh yeah! I found out where we'll be for GS28 - Tampa, FL! I'm excited because I don't think I would ever take time to go to Florida otherwise ;)
I'll try and get something in tonight after the Plenary/Worship and Young Adult Reception, so check back in the morning!
p.s. We had some good music, too! Of course, I don't have my camera with me, so this video from last Synod will have to do ya!
Welcome to General Synod from a blogger's point of view!
My name is Elinor, and I am serving as a delegate from the Minnesota Conference of the UCC to General Synod - 27. I will be doing some semi-live blogging from Grand Rapids, MI. It's my first time at Synod, so look here for news on official business, stories of navigating a new city, and (hopefully) some updates on the fun stuff, too!
Right now I'm in the Milwaukee airport, waiting for my flight to GR. During my layover I've been looking over the Resolutions and Bylaws changes that have been proposed, and I have to say - I'm starting to get excited! Aren't you?!
Right now I am most hyped about the proposed amendments to the bylaws:
From the delegate materials at ucc.org:
"Authorized Ministers of the United Church of Christ—ordained, commissioned,
licensed—are all to be regarded by the Church with mutual respect and care as
they serve on behalf of the whole Church."
Hmm, so far, it sounds good to me. What do you think?
One outcome of this change would be a change in our terminology; instead of calling someone a "Student in Care," they would be referred to as a "Member in Discernment." I like this terminology, because it reflects the fact that not all those who are called to ministry are necessarily called to Divinity School at the same time :)
So, that's all for now. I think I'll go find some grub and then take a nap - hoping to meet up with other Young Adults after the worship tonight, so I better be rested!
See you in Cyberspace! Leave a comment!
UPDATE: This was the first chance I've had to get online, so I've actually arrived and survived the first Plenary Session! Check back soon for a report!