Written by Anthony Moujaes
The United Church of Christ's General Synod 31 faces a tall task this summer during business sessions. Delegates must debate as many as 20 resolutions submitted for consideration, decide on a set of changes to the UCC Constitution and Bylaws that would alter the leadership structure of the church's national setting and elect one of the denomination's national officers.
With such a large number of resolutions for the governing body to consider during the five-day gathering from June 30 to July 4 in Baltimore, Lee Foley, UCC chief administrative officer and General Synod administrator, said that delegates probably won't address all of them.
"The Agenda Coordinating Committee is concerned if General Synod will be able to handle all 20 resolutions, plus the amendments to the constitution and bylaws, plus the election of a Justice and Witness executive minister," Foley said. "Clearly every effort will be made to bring each of the resolutions before Synod, but given the amount of time Synod has to deal with these issues, it's highly likely some of them may not come before Synod and will be dealt with by the Board of Directors at its fall 2017 meeting."
The last General Synod that faced as many resolutions was the 2005 gathering in Atlanta, which saw to 20. Since then, most Synods have handled about 14 to 16 resolutions.
Of the 20 resolutions, two are related to the way in which financial giving is shared throughout the church (sometimes referred to as the Pattern of Giving, or Our Churches Wider Mission), two are related to economic justice issues of increasing the minimum wage and job creation, and another will call on the UCC to become an immigrant welcoming denomination — an issue that has become increasingly important given the White House's executive actions on refugees and immigrants.
A committee of the UCC Board of Directors is reviewing the resolutions before the full board meets in early March to determine if they meet the requirements of the General Synod Standing Rules (Rule 12), and if the resolutions will be forwarded to the General Synod floor.
Read up on all the proposed resolutions on the General Synod website.
General Synod 31 will be held June 30 through July 4 at the Baltimore Convention Center, located right in the heart of city’s historic Inner Harbor seaport. Information is available on the General Synod website, which will be continuously updated with emerging details. Registration for the gathering is open. The cost of registration is $225 for the entire event if booked between Dec. 5 to Jan. 5; $236.50 if booked between Jan. 6 to March 31; and $247.50 if booked on April 1 or after. There is also a special rate for seminarians of $150.