Youth @ Synod Serves as a Stepping Stone to Leadership

Youth @ Synod Serves as a Stepping Stone to Leadership

This summer the United Church of Christ will host a virtual General Synod gathering on July 11-18.  Delegates from all over the country will convene for worship and discussion of resolutions.  Planners have also been busy preparing special parallel programs for youth and young adults. Youth @ Synod is a life-changing experience of the wider church for teens ages 13-18 and past participants name the powerful impact of the event.

"I learned how to use my voice more.  It helped me to project and say what I believe in and what I believe is right," reflected Kendall Hayes of East Hartford, CT.

"Not only do you mature, you also learn life skills and gain companionship," said Aidan Joubert from Seekonk Congregational Church. "(As a result of the Milwaukee Synod in 2019), I have friends from Wisconsin that I still keep in touch with. A big part of Synod is meeting new people who share the same beliefs as you." 2019 Synod Delegates
Youth @ Synod also serves as a good training for future delegates. Many have gone on to represent the conference, voting on issues that shape policy for the denomination.  The 2019 team participated in the historic vote to form the Southern New England Conference.

“Youth @ Synod served as a launching pad for me because after I was able to serve as a delegate. Spiritually, it helped me become comfortable talking about my faith and talking about God. Intellectually, it helped me foster my love for academic sturdy of religion,” commented Bethany Winters, a member of First Church in Simsbury, CT and now a freshman at Swarthmore College.

This experience has also connected youth to other leadership opportunities.  Some were invited to serve on the search committee for the Executive Conference Minister and were the first to welcome Rev. Darrell Goodwin to SNEUCC.  Some represent our conference on the national Council of Youth and Young Adult Ministries (CYYAM).  Some are working for non-profits that serve the common good and others have used their gifts to lead at Silver Lake. A few now hold positions at local churches and many have gone on to study in seminary.

The Youth @ Synod program will be virtual this year, but the experience has been crafted to facilitate connections through small group gatherings.  Workshops will feature special guests to speak on the theme ‘Rooted in Love.’  All events are slotted for late afternoon and evening, making it possible to fit in around summer work schedules.  The registration fee is reasonable and scholarship support is available through SNEUCC.

Registration opens May 1. The fee for the online Youth @ Synod program is $150 per person. The cost for the Young Adult program is $100 per person.  Contact Debby Kirk, Faith Formation Team Leader at for more information.

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Debby D. Kirk

Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference.  She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...

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