#UCCSynod: Stories That Bind Us

#UCCSynod: Stories That Bind Us

One in series of posts by Southern New England Conference delegates to the 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ.

Monday’s plenary sessions were filled with conversation, reflection, sharing, debate, humor, and compassion (along with a bit of technical difficulties). In the end, the room was filled with respect, flexibility, and fellowship. During the day, many of us found ourselves in conversations about interconnectedness and celebration of our unique, individual opinions and positions and how they connect us to and support a diverse community of opinions and positions.
Much of this reflection was built on a willingness to listen to each other’s stories. Brian Stevenson called it proximity. In his own words: “It is in proximity that we understand things we cannot understand from a distance” For Stevenson, proximity is a way of engaging with the human aspect of suffering. Pastor Traci Blackmon offered us another way to think about the power of stories and the narratives we share by reflecting on a West African proverb: “Until the Lion tells the story, the hunter will always be the hero.” 
When we live in a binary world, we look for the space between, that place belonging to both and neither at the same time, that place where we have perspective. Listening to each other’s stories brings us into this space and allows us to gain this perspective. 
When we meet people where they are and listen to their stories, we gain a greater understanding of our brothers and sisters (and ourselves), who they are, what they believe. We begin to recognize the power of our interconnectedness that binds us all in this world. In the end, we will find we have more in common than that which divides us.



Chris Doktor

Chris Doktor is a member of First Congregational, Ipswich MA.

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