When it comes to the United Church of Christ’s 30th General Synod next summer, the phrase "less is more" may be an apt description for the gathering’s workshop offerings. The General Synod Planning Committee is sending out a call for workshops across the wider church, looking to select the best of the bunch to educate, inform and inspire delegates and visitors during the denomination’s biennial event in 2015.
"We are offering the very best in topics, information and presenters," said Lee Foley, chief administrative officer of the UCC. "We want to make sure that people attending are getting something out of the workshops, and that they are top-of-the-line."
Interested workshop presenters can submit an application by Aug. 1 for any topic to the General Synod Planning Committee, which will then carefully choose the final 20 workshops by Aug. 15. Workshop presenters are diverse group, representative of the wider church, and in the past have included members of UCC national and conference staffs, local pastors, lay leaders and seminary educators.
The selected 20 workshops will be offered in 75-minute time-blocks in the early and late afternoon on Saturday, June 27, 2015. By comparison, General Synod 2013 in Long Beach, Calif., had 39 workshops from which to choose. The smaller inventory of workshops in 2015 should help Synod attendees narrow their participation decisions.
"We had thought there might be too much choice among all the workshops, plus simultaneously you have service projects taking place," Foley said. "We want enough people to be part of the workshops, and service projects, instead of thinning people out."
In addition to the workshops and service projects, the Cleveland Pride Parade also takes place during General Synod on June 27, with the parade route passing right by the Cleveland Convention Center, so scores of UCC delegates and visitors are sure to participate. There’s also a possibility that some people may choose to take advantage of a potential good weather day, sight-seeing in downtown Cleveland.
General Synod 30 will be held June 26 through June 30 in Cleveland. Information is available on the General Synod website, which will be continuously updated with emerging details. Registration for the event will open on Sept. 8.