Saturday a California sun and fun day at General Synod 2013
Written by Connie Larkman
May 3, 2013

Site of the luau

Can't imagine heading to the West Coast for business, without spending a day in the California sun?

No worries. The General Synod 2013 Local Planning Committee of the UCC Southern California Nevada Conference has found a way to combine sun and fun on Saturday, June 29.

General Synod 2013 brings the United Church of Christ to the Long Beach Convention Center June 28 – July 3, and organizers say the area is a perfect location for an afternoon of fun and an evening of entertainment.

"The convention center in Long Beach is one block from the water front, and the weather in Long Beach is very nearly perfect (okay, I am biased)" said Rev. Libby Tigner, SCNC Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations. "We wanted to provide an opportunity for visitors to enjoy some time outside."

The "Festival on the Marina Green" will be a great opportunity. The event, from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, is a family friendly festival that will be set up in a large open green space close to the beach, a biking trail and a marina. There will be 10 gourmet food trucks available for food on the run, a giant "Big Kahuna" slide for the kids, a stage for musical performances, kites for flying and other casual, family-friendly activities. Bike and buggy rentals will also be available nearby.

Attendees can rent a surrey near the festival

"We will have a number of food trucks that reflect the variety of fun food in Southern California that will provide an affordable lunch for folks," said June Boutwell, SCNC Chair of the Festival. On stage, "a variety of performers that we hope will reflect the diverse cultures within the conference.  We are hoping to have a ukulele choir, a band from one of our Hispanic congregations, a folk group from Pilgrim Place." Around the green, "we hope to have hula and Japanese dancing lessons, a place to learn how to make leis, face painting, sand castles on the beach, frisbees, kite flying, camp style games, origami lessons, and who knows what else. We mostly wanted to provide a space to relax, enjoy the sunshine, have family/group time, an opportunity to sample new food, and generally have fun."

Six blocks from the convention center is First Congregational Church of Long Beach, whose sanctuary is a national historic building, and which is home to one of the largest pipe organs in Southern California.  At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the church will be open for a free organ concert by Dr. Marc Dickey, the church's organist, and a hymn sing, led by Curtis Heard, the church's Director of Music.

After that, visitors might need to rest up to get ready for the evening's luau. "Southern California Nevada Conference is proud of its 29 Samoan congregations," said Tigner. "The Samoan Ministries Table of the SCNC will be providing the music and dance for the ‘Sights and Sounds of the South Pacific Luau' on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m., sharing some of their cultural heritage with us." Several different dance styles from the South Pacific Islands will be featured, and UCC General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey Black will be honored in a kava ceremony.

The luau will be adjacent to the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center at Rainbow Lagoon Park. Tickets for the event, which includes a buffet dinner, are $45 and can be obtained through General Synod Registration or through the SCNC office.

Registration for General Synod 2013 will only be open for a few more weeks. To register now or for more information, check the UCC Synod website.

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Ms. Connie N. Larkman
Managing Editor & News Director
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-2196
larkmanc@ucc.org