I bet others have posted about the dynamite worship on Friday night with our own Molly Baskette preaching a powerful and inspiring sermon urging us to act with courage even when we are afraid (view at about 2:05 here), and about the moving remarks Saturday morning by Cleveland columnist Connie Schultz, unabashed advocate for justice (her stories of compassion and caring had me wiping away tears at several points -- view at about :57 here). And one dramatic and prominent feature of this Synod has been that maybe a dozen speakers in the large plenaries have mentioned the Supreme Court ruling on Friday -- and how the 2005 General Synod's vote to affirm and bless same-gender marriages paved the way -- and each mention draws thunderous applause.
In case no one else has spoken about it, I will note the gentle and kind presence of current General Minister and President Geoffrey Black, who came to our Massachusetts delegation Saturday morning and warmly told us we in Mass. are the heart of the UCC. Plus, we heard from all four of the UCC Collegium (the denomination's leadership team) -- Geoffrey, Linda Jaramillo of Justice and Witness Ministries; Ben Guess of Local Church Ministries, and Jim Moos of Wider Church Ministries -- when they reported to us on what has been accomplished in the UCC since we last gathered at General Synod in 2013.
But what I am celebrating especially right now is last night's dance! We are a church that loves to boogie! Led by dozens (over 100?) youth, and accompanied by a live band, a whole bunch of UCC folks were out there on dancing to "We Are Family," "Soul Train," and many, many others. Among us were John Dorhauer (nominee to become General Minister and President at this Synod), Liinda Jaramillo, and other UCC luminaries. There were toddlers right up through folks in their 70's, of various ethnicities and genders, all enjoying the power of dance together. At first, Pat Backman and I were the only folks from MA dancing but then many others arrived too. And there was no judgment about dancing talent -- as Fran Graveson from Millbury noted: "Wherever you are on your dancing journey... you are welcome here."
So far, there have been so many high points and I can't wait to see what happens today, and to join in the huge community-wide worship this afternoon!
Barbara K. Darling is Co-Chair of the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team. She is a member of the Church of the Covenant, Federated, in Boston and a Religion Professor at Wheaton College.