Thursday, July 7, 2011

General Synod 28--Final Reflections

Another General Synod of the United Church of Christ has come and gone.  I was privileged to be a delegate to this Synod representing the South Central Conference of the UCC, one of 12 elected by our Conference to represent them.  We had a variety of experiences that included worship and learning and being challenged by new ideas and voting on issues that concerns us as a church and as individuals, issues that are important to many.  The UCC has a history of standing up for justice issues that affect persons who cannot speak for themselves.  The UCC also has a history of standing up for what we as a church think is the right thing to do based upon the continuing testament of the Holy Scriptures and the voice of God we hear speaking in our day. 

We passed many of the resolutions brought before Synod.  One of them was countering the hostility that we perceive in the world that is being directed at followers of Islam.  We passed a resolution that said that we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the faith called Islam and will work for peace and harmony as we and they attempt to foster understanding with others.  We also passed a resolution standing up for those who are being tortured and abused around the world because of their sexual orientation.  Three young people from other countries who have fled to the US were at Synod and testified that they had been victims of harrassment and torture in their home countries because of their sexual orientation and had fled to the US to find safety.  They are being housed and assisted by a UCC church in Worcester, MA.  We also passed a resolution with no dissent in favor of all persons being considered to be adoptive parents without regard to the sexual orientation of a person.  When we looked at the hard statistics that there are almost a half million children in the US in the foster care program needing parents but only about 100,000 couples yearly who adopt, and that many persons are denied becoming adoptive parents based upon their sexual orientation, then we had to stand up for the right for children to have loving parents and for persons who want to be parents to have the chance to qualify. 

The United Church of Christ is a compassionate, caring church and we attempt to extend God's love to all in our world who need to hear the voice of mercy.  We want to be the church where all are welcomed regardless of who they are and where they are on life's journey.  I am thankful that I am part of a church such as this one that strives to be inclusive of all and to speak on behalf of those who have no voice. 

In some ways, one wonders if simply passing resolutions in a church gathering will have any effect upon the world.  Perhaps some of them will simply be recorded for history's sake but there is hope that when a group of people find a common goal and something that unites them, then perhaps this may be a step toward making the world a better place for all. 

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