Written by Tiffany Vail
As hundreds of UCCers from across the country began to converge in Baltimore for General Synod on Thursday, one could say that gladness abounded.
For many, General Synod (#uccgs) is a big reunion – a chance to get together with colleagues and old friends they haven't seen since seminary, a previous ministerial call, or the last Synod two years ago.
"Just seeing people makes me glad," said the Rev. Steven Savides, who has spent time in the Connecticut and Massachusetts Conferences and is now attending school in Ohio. "Nothing could be more holy and more fun."
The scriptural inspiration for the GS31 theme, "Make Glad," comes from Psalm 46:4: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells."
Asked what they are doing to get ready to "Make Glad" during the gathering, many attendees said they were just excited to be together.
Air Force Chaplain the Rev. Samantha Haub, who currently lives in Oklahoma, said she was thrilled to be getting ready for Synod by working to prepare "awesome worship" for the 20/30 clergy network with former Andover Newton Theological School Professor the Rev. Mary Luti and the Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Associate Pastor of First Parish Church in Derry, New Hampshire.
"In the 20/30 network, we talk so much on Facebook, but a lot of us don't know each other outside of Facebook," she said. "It's nice to be together."
Making – and keeping – connections is what it's all about, according to former Connecticut Conference Minister Davida Foy Crabtree.
"I have slept 11 hours in the past 36 - all to be ready for the UCC family reunion and any opportunities for wonderful little intimate conversations in the midst of 3,000 people. And that's not a contradiction," she said. "Some of the best friendships have started and been sustained Synod by Synod."
Tiffany Vail, a Synod newsroom volunteer is Associate Conference Minister for Communications, serving three UCC Conferences of Southern New England-Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.