I have to admit - I've never been to General Synod before. As a first-time attendee, and as part of the national staff, I'm amazed at how everything comes together. Quickly.
What was a near-empty plenary hall Tuesday afternoon was a bustling hive of activity by Wednesday night - complete by with rows of chairs, lift cranes, huge video panels and a few dump trucks! Art and science, technology and earth, assembled by human hands and hearts all combining to make General Synod what it is.
As I wandered around the setup activities yesterday, looking for story sources and good pictures, I could feel the anticipation in the air.
Worship arts were being rehearsed. Display areas were being set up so that attendees can stay connected and learn. Dozens of DoVos Place employees were responding to Synod staff requests. We were busy and at the same time waiting for everything to begin.
Yet above the buzz of the plenary hall there is the tranquil sound of a waterfall. I had the chance to sit near the waterfall as plants were being arranged around it and, for a brief moment, absorb the peace of that setting.
And therein lays one of the reasons we come together every two years. We seek an experience of God's peace – through worship, renewed connections, new relationships and an immersion into our identity as people of the UCC.
Though I understand I may have few chances to experience peace in the next few days – I'm grateful for those few moments yesterday.
Today we look forward to the opening plenary and worship sessions. We'll begin the business of the Synod, meet our Michigan UCC hosts, hear the Rev. Otis Moss III preach and hear nominating speeches by the Rev. Stephen Sterner as executive minister for Local Church Ministries and the Rev. Geoffrey Black as general minister and president.
But through all the business and busy-ness of General Synod, I invite you to take time to immerse yourself in the many ways you'll be offered to experience the spirit of Christ who calls us to be the church - united and uniting, challenged and challenging - as we journey together with our still speaking God.