Not all the General Synod staff are serious-looking men and women with walkie-talkies to one ear and cell phones to the other.
Some are a dozen or so kids in red or purple T-shirts who arrived Friday morning, with three adult supervisors to run errands and assist the Synod leadership as needed.
"I call them the official go-fers of General Synod," said the Rev. Bill Terry. The pastor of St. John's UCC in Port Huron, Mich., he is serving as Youth Stewards Coordinator for General Synod 27 which opened Friday at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Youth Stewards will spend their first morning in orientation sessions that will spell out the details of their mission which, most importantly, includes helping the moderator recognize speakers at microphones during floor debates.
"We want them to get a good feel for the national church while they're here," Terry said. "It's so different from the local church. I told them to plan on 'immersing' themselves in the national church."
The youth represent five or six different UCC congregations in the Michigan Conference, Terry said. Some are coming to Grand Rapids directly from church camp. Their expenses are being paid by the national church while they are assisting Synod leaders.