Written by Barb Powell
See you in Cleveland! The United Church of Christ’s General Synod 2013 came to a close on Tuesday, July 2, but not before the Ohio Conference took the stage to extend an invitation to General Synod 2015 in the Buckeye State. The Rev. Phil Hart, incoming Ohio Conference Minister, surrounded by members of the Ohio delegation, invited the church to Cleveland, the home of the denomination's national headquarters.
"Your brothers and sisters in Ohio, and part of Kentucky and West Virginia, are extremely proud and honored to be the host of the next General Synod," Hart said. "We will work really hard to make sure you are welcome and that you have a wonderful time there."
The UCC's Executive Council voted in October to bring the biennial gathering to Ohio for the first time since 1997, when it was in Columbus.
Hart also thanked the Southern California-Nevada Conference for its hospitality in hosting General Synod 2013 in Long Beach. "They have really set a high bar for us in Ohio," Hart said of the 2013 event.
The Ohio Conference will have some help in aiming high for that bar from Cleveland. The city recently completed construction of its state-of-the art Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center, an eco-friendly building. The facility, completed ahead of schedule and under budget, earned a silver-level LEED certification from the National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group. The NRDC website says that LEED certification demonstrates that a building is truly "green." The convention center features more than 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, 35 meetings rooms and two ballrooms. Its certification as a silver-level LEED building fits well with the UCC's ongoing earthcare initiatives.
The 2015 General Synod will be the first in Cleveland since 1987. In addition, the UCC’s founding Synod in 1957 was held in Cleveland.
The final piece of business at General Synod 2013 was the installation of the moderator and co-moderator for General Synod 2015. The Hon. Brian Holeman –– a co-moderator in Long Beach –– and the Rev. Sue Artt were entrusted with the duties of moving the agenda of the gathering along according to schedule in a manner that is fair and collegial, while being mindful of any unexpected changes or new Synod business that may arise.
Holeman, a judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is a member of People’s Congregational UCC in Washington, D.C. Artt has been pastor of St. Paul UCC in Nashville, Ill., since 2006. They were unanimously nominated by the General Synod Nominating Committee.
The 30th General Synod of the United Church of Christ takes place June 26-30, 2015.