Today is day one for General Synod of the United Church of Christ being held in Tampa, FL. We arrived here yesterday and spent the night at our hotel and this morning we are already in high gear, having had breakfast at the hotel. Around noon, we go to the convention center to begin the meetings of the conference. We have what are called "Educational Intensives" first, which is where delegates go to assigned committee meetings and learn about the resolution to which you are assigned. That lasts two hours and is informative in nature and no votes are taken there. Then, there is a break and the first plenary session begins where business begins but no votes are taken by delegates. A dinner break happens and then the first worship service is held this evening. The first day of Synod is one that allows delegates to become familiar with the resolutions but votes will not be taken until Monday. There is a great spirit here already, lots of people who know each other from past experiences and it is a little like a family reunion.
Tampa is an interesting city with a river flowing not too far from our hotel. We can see a river walk by the river from our window on the 13th floor of the hotel. I want to walk on it later today. It is hot and humid here with rain showers popping up now and then but disappearing about as fast as they come. Things look quite green so I think they have been having quite a bit of rain lately. Downtown Tampa is not very exciting, it seems, with very few restaurants close by. One has to ride a trolley to an area called "YBar City" to find a lot of restaurants and shops. There is actually a grocery store just a few blocks from our hotel so we went there and bought a few things last night to put in the fridge in our room. We have a microwave too so I think we will not go hungry.
I will try to blog daily while at the Synod so my church members can read them but all who read this are free to read and make comments or ask questions if you want to learn more about the United Church of Christ and the General Synod that speaks to the local church but not for it.