United Church of Christ takes on bullying, in all forms

United Church of Christ takes on bullying, in all forms

July 01, 2013
Written by Connie Larkman

Bullying, in all of its insidious forms, was officially decried by General Synod 2013 in a resolution of witness, which was overwhelmingly adopted Tuesday afternoon at the Long Beach Convention Center.

The resolution also encourages each conference to use its Committees on Ministry to include education on bullying as part of its boundary training. Committee 3, which handled this resolution, suggested the resources available on UCC.org, FaithPractices.org and StopBullying.gov are appropriate for that education process.

"Bullying is not acceptable anywhere," said Colleen Sampson of the Southern Conference. "I'm speaking to the bullying that occurs in our churches. We say everyone is welcome, but these are behaviors that are not welcome. We have to recognize it for what it is and shine light on it.

"We need to stop bullying in all forms. If we are going to talk to children about it, we need to start with the action of adults."

During the floor debate, delegates added clergy to the list of stakeholders mentioned in the resolution and chose to alphabetize the list of types of discrimination, which lead to bullying.

Several delegates mentioned bullying by lay leaders, clergy and members within congregations.

"I would argue that if we are going to request this of other community leaders," said Dee Lundberg of Rocky Mountain Conference, "we need to recognize that clergy can bully, intentionally or not."

"I am speaking as a person with disabilities who was bullied throughout school, in the workplace and, yes, even in seminary," said the Rev. Kelly Parrish Lucas of Southern California Nevada Conference. "I have even been bullied within this gathering. Don't vote for this to feel good, but do it for change.  And change yourself first."

With 754 delegates voting, the resolution passed with 98.7 percent of the vote.

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Connie N. Larkman
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