Affirming one facet of its ministry while shining more light on another, the UCC has unveiled its possibility-filled theme and colorful logo for General Synod 28 in Tampa. Fla. The biennial conference, to be held July 1-5, 2011, has the theme "Imagine what's possible. God is still speaking."
"It's become easy to spend most of our energies dwelling on the difficulty of sustaining ministry, instead of putting equal energy into imagining what's possible for the United Church of Christ," says the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, UCC communications director.
" 'Imagine what's possible. God is still speaking,' reflects the committee's hope that our church will begin to emphasize the possibilities that exist for our local churches," says Guess, "whenever and wherever we are attentive to God's still-speaking voice."
Emerging technologies, new methods of outreach and fresh approaches to fundraising and stewardship are stoking the flames of what could be, says Guess. "All of these may be ways that God is calling us to imagine and implement new approaches to ministry and mission, and not just lament the passing of days when church life was simpler and, perhaps, easier."
On July 2, 2011, "Suncoast Saturday" will be dedicated to inspiration and practical application. "The committee wants to continue the more-recent and popular tradition of setting aside a day for celebration and learning," says Guess, referring to the successes of the "Synod in the City" event at the 2007 Synod in Hartford, Conn., and "River City Saturday" last year in Grand Rapids, Mich.
"But the committee also hopes that day will provide examples of best practices for local churches and helpful implementation strategies that members can take back to their local churches."
The General Synod program and planning committee met in Tampa in late February to select the theme, which was presented to Executive Council at its April meeting.
Anticipating Florida's abundant sunshine and scenic coastline, the committee composed a litany lifting up a renewed enthusiasm, saying, "In the land of NASA, where engineers and astronauts invite and inspire us to dream of new frontiers that wait to be discovered deep into space." To see complete litany, click here.