By Steven Savides
Pastor & Teacher, The Congregational Church of West Medford, UCC
General Synod Delegate
Synod doesn't officially start for another few hours. At 1 PM educational intensives get underway where delegates and visitors will learn about resolutions or business items that will later be scrutinized and voted on. Each delegate has been assigned to one of the 13 committees whose job it will be to deliberate each measure on Sunday morning. The first plenary is slated for 3:30 this afternoon where - get this - delegates receive electronic voting pads. (I don't know who thought it was a good idea to give me a voting pad. See button, must push!)
There's grace in abundance here as old friends meet up and new acquaintances and friendships are made. On the shuttle from the airport 9 of us figured out that three of us were on the same flight from Boston and four were on a flight from Cleveland. There was a sense of camaraderie and bonhomie that one might expect at a family reunion. And I think that's the point: this is like a big family reunion. A rainbow in the late afternoon affirmed the promise of the covenant we share.
A word from my native South Africa came to mind over dinner with old and new friends last night - a Zulu word - simunye. It means "we are one" and captures beautifully the spirit that already exists at General Synod. It's proof that our motto and Jesus' prayer "that they may all be one" is alive and well. The skeptic in me is curious to see how this holds up when we discuss the business of the church. Although from what I've seen I believe I will leave here with a great sense of just how united the United Church of Christ is.
I'll write more later, but in the meantime if you want to write with questions or comments, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Steven T. Savides is Pastor Teacher of The Congregational Church of West Medford, UCC. He is a former journalist.