Some may argue that the reason the approval of the “Resolution to Create a Theological Forum” was met with wild cheering was because it was the last business item on the agenda of General Synod 28.
But, for those in favor of creating a theological forum, the standing ovation was a reflection of something that was long overdue.
“I stand in strong urgent support of the creation of a theological forum,” said Southern California-Nevada Conference delegate Madison Shockley.
Brenda James, a delegate from the Southern Conference, asked about the reason behind changing the name from “commission,” as it was proposed in the original resolution, to “forum.” Committee Chair and delegate from New York Elizabeth Duffy said that the committee was concerned that the work of the group not be perceived as a top-down hierarchy, so they decided that “forum” was a better word choice.
Bill Field, delegate from Central Atlantic Conference, said that at first he had concerns about the creation of a such a forum but after having an opportunity to talk to partner church members from Germany who are looking for ways to dialogue about theology, he realized this was a way to accomplish that.
“This forum creates a space to talk about theology with our partners elsewhere,” he said.
Skylark Bruce, a delegate from Ohio and member of the committee, said she also was against the resolution at first. However, after the committee discussion she recognized the possibilities and benefits of such a group for both clergy and lay members.
“[This forum] should encourage a wide variety of skills to bring theology to the Joes and Janes of the pews,” she said. “Let’s not enforce the idea that God-talk is for pastors and professionals only.”