God's VisionLove

The Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) in Long Beach, under the leadership of Rev. Paul Kittlaus and Mrs. Janet Vandevender, has been hard at work preparing to welcome delegates and visitors to Long Beach. The LAC is the local hands-on connection for General Synod, representing over 120 local churches that are busy attending to a variety of details to prepare for our meeting in June. Their goal is to provide overall support to the General Synod, ensure that you are warmly welcomed, that you can find your way around the city easily and comfortably, and that you fully experience this great celebration of our wider church family.

Essential Links
Program Book for Delegates
Formal Motions Including Elections
Reports to General Synod
Resolutions to be considered at General Synod 29
Workshops on Saturday, June 29
Complete Standing Rules for General Synod 29

Or download the delegate handbook in PDF.

Venue in Long Beach, California
Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802 is located in the heart of downtown Long Beach, the Center is within walking distance to first-class accommodations, shopping, dining, attractions, and sightseeing along picturesque bays and 5 1/2 miles of sandy beach. The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is a spectacular multi-purpose complex - one of the few such waterfront facilities nationwide. The glass concourse and lobby offer expansive views of the scenic harbor and downtown skyline. A pedestrian promenade links hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions with the Pacific Ocean.

Brief Overview of Events
The General Synod will begin at 1:00 pm on Friday, June 28th with Educational Intensives which will be an opportunity for delegates and visitors to take an in-depth look at issues that come to the General Synod in resolutions.  Opening plenary begins at 3:00 pm; the dinner hour will feature sponsored meals; plenary will resume at 7:30 pm and close with the opening worship service. Among the many business items at General Synod 29, delegates and visitors will hear from the candidates for the General Minister and President, the Executive Ministers for Local Church Ministries and Justice and Witness Ministries as delegates prepare to re-elect these officers of the church.

Saturday will be a time of light business in the morning and in the afternoon there will be workshops and service projects and you'll have an opportunity to purchase tickets to a catered luau with music and dances of the South Pacific, hosted by the Southern California Nevada Conference's Samoan Ministries Table.  Saturday evening will feature the folk and blues sounds of acclaimed Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon in a special concert featuring this mother-daughter collaboration.

On Sunday morning delegates will be in committees for focused deliberation and will recommend action on resolutions and other business items. Sunday afternoon we welcome the members of the local churches of southern California and members of the Long Beach area to a community wide worship service.  And then Sunday evening, delegates and visitors will have the opportunity to attend the hearings on the budget, the General Synod Nominating Committee process and on the Formal Motion "The Affirmation of Relationship between the United Church of Christ and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries."

Monday and Tuesday General Synod will turn to its business and consider the resolutions and other formal motions, the UCC's unique method of speaking to the world, and there will be elections of Officers of the Church and the members of the first governing board under the new governance structure. But it won't be all business. Delegates and visitors will hear from fascinating and inspiring speakers in between business sessions and, of course, everything wraps up Tuesday evening with a big, wonderful and heart-lifting worship service as we end our time in Long Beach and sunny southern California.

See the Calendar of Events for a detailed schedule of events.

Event Registration
Everyone who attends General Synod is required to register. Registration fees are a significant part of the income that supports the General Synod. The registration process generates your name badge and other credentials that inform the Convention Center security personnel that you are part of this event and will be your ticket into General Synod events and activities.

There are a few different registration categories: Full, Youth, Friday – Sunday, and a single day Saturday, Monday or Tuesday.  You can register online, purchase sponsored meal tickets and make your hotel arrangements. You can help us in our planning by registering as soon as possible. please note that online registration will be temporarily closed May 20-24, 2013 with the last day to register online being June 20, 2013. The last day to purchase sponsored meal tickets is May 19, 2013.

The registration fees for this General Synod have been approved and voted on by the UCC Executive Council and are as follows:
$225    Registration for the full five days of General Synod;
$150    Registration for the full five days of General Synod for youth 18 years and younger;
$175    Registration for Friday through Sunday
$75    Registration for a single day (Saturday, Monday or Tuesday)

On-site Registration Hours
Thursday     June 27, 2013        5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Friday        June 28, 2013        8:30 AM – 7:30 PM
Saturday    June 29, 2013        7:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Sunday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 2, 2013, registration assistance will be available in the General Synod office.

Information Table
There will be a table near the registration area located in the Convention Center with information regarding restaurants, local events, shopping and maps.

Special Needs
Please contact Susan Buchenau at ucclmsam@yahoo.com for details regarding assistance with mobility (wheelchairs and scooters), visual and hearing assistance or other special needs during General Synod.  Those who require a wheelchair accessible room should indicate this at the time hotel reservations are made.  There will be a special needs table in the registration area at the Convention Center for your assistance.

Childcare and Program for Children Pre K through 8th Grade
Onsite child care for ages 0-3 and a children's program for Pre-K through 8th grade (which will include offsite field trips) will be offered by the Local Arrangements Committee during all scheduled business sessions and worship services beginning on Friday afternoon, June 28, through Tuesday evening, July 2.  The fee is $5 per child per session.  All child care staff and volunteers have been screened in compliance with the Southern California Nevada Conference Safe Church Policy.

Each child care session will open 15 minutes prior to scheduled business sessions/worship services and will close 15 minutes after.  Parents are expected to drop off and pick up their children within these times.  While parents will be picking up their children for lunch and dinner recesses, this program will provide snacks and beverages.

A detailed schedule (including full field trip information and staff contact information for those participating in the offsite components of the children's program) will be sent to you when it becomes available and upon receipt of your registration form and payment.  At this time, we are hoping to offer offsite field trips to the Aquarium of the Pacific (www.aquariumofpacific.org), Rancho Los Alamitos (www.rancholosalamitos.com), and the Queen Mary (www.queenmary.com). Please note that outings may be subject to change due to local availability.

To register your child/children, go to http://www.ucc.org/synod/child-care-childrens.html please fill out a children's program registration form, enclose your check, and mail it to the address provided on the form.  Registration deadline is June 1, 2013.  All children must be registered by this date. In order to ensure proper staff to child ratios, drop in care is not available. Questions may be directed to Susie Bjork at pastorsusie@bayshorechurch.org or (562) 433-0401.

Youth and Young Adult Opportunities
God's Vision calls the youth and young adults to come unto the Lord. Jesus said, "Don't stop children from coming to me! Children like these are part of God's beloved community." (Matthew 19:14). The youth and young adult program will extend ongoing extravagant welcome in Exhibit Hall C of the Long Beach Convention Center. Pre-Synod activities hosted June 26 through June 28 are for participants registered with the Youth@General Synod program only.  All youth and young adult participants registered for General Synod at-large are invited to share in afterhours outreach, workshops, worship and plenary scheduled for June 28—opening plenary & worship through July 02—closing plenary & worship. The Council for Youth and Young Adults Ministries (CYAM) will host a special border immersion experience in collaboration with the UCC's Centro Romero, Saturday, June 29th.  The Council for Youth and Young Adults will also host a sponsored lunch open to all, Monday, July 1, 12 noon to 2:30 PM (Exhibit Hall C). You will find the options to sign up for the border experience, meals and the Pre-Synod youth activities via the General Synod registration site. Share in God's vision by sharing in youth and young adults outreach at General Synod! Contact Waltrina Middleton, Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership Formation, at youth@ucc.org or 216-736-3871.

Traveling to General Synod
There are three airports that serve Long Beach; LAX (23 miles), John Wayne Airport (24 miles) and Long Beach Airport  (6 miles), although LAX and John Wayne Airport are 23 and 24 miles from the Convention Center, traffic can make the trip a lot longer to and from Long Beach.  Sharing a cab is around $70 one-way. You can also make online reservations for the SuperShuttle, a 10% discount will be given (about $17 per person from LAX to the Convention Center for a shared van). Go to http://www.supershuttle.com/default.aspx?GC=B6HCJ and if the code B6HCJ does not appear in the Group/Discount Code box, simply enter it.

Delta Airlines has set up a meeting discount for the United Church of Christ General Synod Meeting in Long Beach, CA.  Below are the details:

Travel dates:          June 22 through July 8, 2013.

Airports included:         Long Beach, Los Angeles and Ontario.

Travel origination:     USA or Canada

Discount:            5% off discounted and restricted fares, or 10% off full and non-restricted fares.

Discount is only available when booking with MTS Travel and a $33.00 ticketing MTS ticketing fee applies. (Discount not available directly with Delta.) The lowest fare inventories are excluded from the discount; those inventories are T, U & L.  The consultants will know which fares may or may not be discounted. The meeting discount is not valid with other discounts, certificates, coupons or other promotional offers.  This meeting discount may help travelers with some savings if the lower fare inventories are full when they are ready to confirm their travel.

Liz Prom and Jacqueline Ripley are the travel consultants with MTS Travel that arrange the UCC travel and are aware of the meeting discount and appropriate ticketing entries. They will be happy to assist you.  Contact MTS and ask for either Jacqueline Ripley or Liz Prom at 800-247-7035 or at ucc@mtstravel.com.

Arriving in Long Beach
We encourage you to plan to arrive in Long Beach in time to drop off your luggage, make your way to the Convention Center, pick up your credentials at the registration area and attend the Educational Intensives that begin at 1:00 PM. Keep in mind that the Educational Intensives will focus on the issues of the resolutions that will come before the General Synod.  This is actually the educational part of committees (separated intentionally from the deliberation and action time) so it's especially important that delegates attend these sessions. The opening plenary will begin at 3:30 pm in Hall A in the Convention Center.

Hotel check in time varies, but at most hotels the time is 3:00 PM; the hotel may allow you to check in early if there are rooms available.  If there aren't any rooms available, store your luggage at your hotel and make your way to the Convention Center.

Those of you who are seasoned General Synod visitors are used to making your hotel arrangements on-line through a housing bureau after the registration process was completed. Long Beach does not have a housing bureau; consequently General Synod registrants will make their own hotel reservations by contacting the hotel directly. We have negotiated with several hotels in the city and reserved blocks of rooms.  Registration will open January 21, 2013. Upon successful completion of the registration process you will be provided with a link that will have a list of the contracted hotels and contact information.  If you have any questions please contact Christina Sattler at sattlerc@ucc.org or 216-736-2131. Hotel space close to the Convention Center is extremely limited so you are advised to make your reservations early.

Educational Intensives, Hearings and Committees
The Educational Intensives on the resolution topics were first instituted in Tampa two years ago and proved to be so popular and such a benefit to delegates that we will be conducting them again as the first General Synod event, starting at 1:00 on Friday afternoon, June 28th.  They're open to anybody who is registered for General Synod and are conducted by experts in the field of the respective topic. These primers are a real aide to delegates who will later be attending the committee session on the issue.

The General Synod committees will convene Sunday morning and continue into Sunday afternoon.  Delegates are assigned a committee, by random draw, prior to General Synod and are expected to attend their assigned committee session.  The committees will recommend on the disposition of General Synod resolutions, recommending approval or defeat. The committees may also amend resolutions or recommend tabling a resolution. Beginning Monday morning the committee chairs will report the committee finding to a plenary of the General Synod where delegates will vote the issue.

General Synod Hearings will be in session Sunday evening.  There will be a hearing on the budget and on the nominating process.   There will also be a hearing on the Formal Motion "Affirmation of Relationship between the United Church of Christ and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries." General Synod Hearings are open to all delegates and visitors.

Worship Themes
The theme for General Synod 2013 in Long Beach is "God's Vision: ___________" inspired by the Prophet Habakkuk:

I will stand at my watch-post,
   and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what the Holy One will say to me,
   and what God will answer concerning my complaint.
Then God answered me and said:
Write the vision;
   make it plain on tablets,
   so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
   it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
   it will surely come, it will not delay.

Habakkuk 2: 1-3: NRSV, adapted

In this transitional moment for the UCC we will seek God's vision throughout the five worship experiences of General Synod.

On Friday evening we will look for God's prophetic vision:  edgy, risky, calling us to the edge of ministry for justice.  The Rev. Neichelle R. Guidry-Jones of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago will preach on the classic text of prophetic vocation leading to Jesus "on the edge": Luke 4: 14-30:  "Spirit of the Lord is upon me…."

Saturday Morning Prayer will help us create a space in ourselves for God's vision: accepting Jesus' invitation to "Come away and rest" (Mark 6: 30-32) we will engage in a prayerful, joyful, contemplative time, calling us to make "space for grace" in our own selves and in our community.

Sunday's Service of Holy Communion will celebrate God's vision of being all in all in our world: We will explore Revelation 22: 4 in The Message translation: ‘Everyone Mirrors God' in a diverse community of justice and peace.  The Rev. Martin Copenhaver, Senior Minister of Wellesley United Church of Christ, in Wellesley, MA will preach.

Monday Evening Prayer will open us up to the power of God's vision, calling us to transformation.  After a day of business which will help move us from the old structure into the new, we will call on Julian DeShazier, Senior Minister of University Church in Chicago, also known as hip hop artist J.Kwest, to lead us in a prayer of letting go, and opening up space for the new thing God is doing in our midst.

Tuesday's Closing Worship, God's Vision calls us to New Life will use the musical tradition of a New Orleans style Jazz Funeral to celebrate all that is past and look toward the future. The Rev. Jo Hudson, Senior Minister of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX,   will send us forth with words of hope, justice and joy.

Exhibit Hall
Be sure to visit the exhibit hall (Hall B) which will feature displays, resources, shopping opportunities, refreshments and plenty of areas to sit down and catch up with old and new acquaintances!

The always popular General Synod workshops will be conducted Saturday afternoon of General Synod. These informative and educational sessions are open to all delegates and registered visitors.  Topics generally offer helpful hints for the local church, local church pastors and church staff and volunteers; help for everything from managing the church choir to youth ministry.  A full schedule of the Long Beach workshops will be posted on the website in early May.

Service and Immersion Projects
Register or add to your General Synod Registration (you'll need your confirmation number) at www.ucc.org/synod

Border Immersion Experience hosted by CYYAM (Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries)
This is an all-day event. Pre-Registered and pre-paid participants will depart Saturday, June 29th at 6:30 a.m. from the Convention Center bus round-about and return around 8:00 p.m.  See signage at Convention Hall C.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.   Participants will experience the U.S. – Mexico border through the ministries of the UCC’s Centro Romero Center – an immersion center of Justice and Witness Ministries.  Members of CYYAM will lead reflection on issues encountered.  This is an intergenerational event.

Blood Drive - Location:  Convention Center Room 203A
Friday, June 28th  11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 29th  11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Learn of advocacy efforts with government agencies about who is allowed to donate blood. 
Help the UCC General Synod to meet a goal of at least 100 pints donated during this 2-day drive.

Beach Walk and Clean-Up  Saturday, June 29th afternoon during the Celebration on the Marina Green.  Pick up your trash bag at Beach Clean-Up Station.  Participants will walk the beach front for exercise and practice environmental stewardship by picking up trash. No registration needed.

Service and Immersion Projects - Saturday, June 29th - Afternoon
All-Project Orientation and Commissioning begins immediately after the Saturday morning plenary - approximately 11:30 a.m. in Youth Room.  Convention Hall C.

• Pre-registration and payment is required.  Boxed lunches are provided. 
• Each experience includes hands-on service opportunities, reflection, and ideas for follow-up and further commitment.
• Participants will return to the Convention Center approximately 4:00 p.m.

Project - Food Bank
Participants will assist with food distribution and learn of the network of systems in place to address hunger and advocate for food sustainability.  Wear closed-toed shoes.

Project - Homeless Veterans
Participants will engage with national model program for the homeless in Long Beach.  Wear closed-toed shoes.

Project - Prison Visitation
Participants will visit the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution located in San Pedro, CA near Long Beach.  The experience will include a tour by prison officials, conversation with volunteers who visit as part of the UCC-supported ‘Prisoner Visitation and Support Program', and informal discussion of criminal justice and human rights.

Project - Retirement Communities
Visit facilities of the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) in the Long Beach area.  The Retirement Housing Foundation is part of the UCC's Council for Health and Human Service Ministries with a focus on affordable housing.  Participants will join outreach projects of residents of these retirement communities.

Know Your Leaders: Collegium of Officers of the United Church of Christ

The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black —is the spiritual leader and pastor.  He serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the General Synod and is the principal executive of the Office of General Ministries.  He convenes the Collegium of Officers and is a member of the Mission Planning Council. Rev. Black serves as the primary ecumenical representative of the Church, interfacing with other heads of communion.  Previously, Rev. Black served as the Conference Minister of the New York Conference and before that as the Minster for Church Life and Leadership at the national setting. Rev. Black has also served as a local church pastor and was Protestant Chaplain at Adelphi University and Assistant Chaplain at Brown University.  Rev. Black is concluding his first four-year term as General Minister and President at the Twenty-ninth General Synod.  He and his wife Patricia Williams-Black have an adult daughter and live in Lakewood, Ohio.  They are members of South Haven United Church of Christ in Bedford, Ohio.

Mr. W. Mark Clark — serves as the operational executive of the Office of General Ministries. He works with the Board of Directors of the Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ and the Executive Council to implement policies and operational procedures. Previously, Mr. Clark served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of a nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization serving Tucson and Pima County, Arizona.  Mr. Clark served on the Office of General Ministries Board of Directors 2005-2009 and Chair of its Budget and Finance Committee.  He also served as an Office of General Ministries representative to the Executive Council during that time and served as the Chair of the Executive Council' Committee of Reference for the Twenty-seventh General Synod in Grand Rapids in 2009.  Mr. Clark is the first Commissioned Minister to serve as a member of the Collegium of Officers. Mr. Clark and his wife Stacy K. Parrish-Clark live in Lakewood, Ohio.  He is a member of Rincon United Church of Christ in Tucson.

The Rev. Linda Jaramillo — is responsible for managing the Church' work on human rights and social, racial, environmental and economic justice.  Prior to her call to JWM, Rev. Jaramillo was active in various settings of the United Church of Christ.  Nationally, she served as Assistant Moderator of the Twenty-third General Synod in Kansas City.  She was President of the Council for Hispanic Ministries, Co-convener of the Council of Racial and Ethnic Ministries, and was a UCC delegate to the World Council of Churches Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Rev. Jaramillo has a long history of involvement in justice issues, both in the church and in community. She was a long time Latina leader in the Portland (Oregon) metropolitan area.  She co-facilitated an historic dialog process between African American and Latino communities in that area. She is the first Hispanic to serve as a member of the Collegium of Officers and is bilingual in Spanish and English.  She is mother of two adult children and the grandmother of five amazing kids, ranging in ages - toddler to teen. Rev. Jaramillo lives in Lakewood, Ohio and is a member of Ainsworth United Church of Christ in Portland and Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Cleveland.

The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess — is charged with overseeing the support of the local church, the encouragement and fulfillment of God' mission.  He is the first openly gay person to serve as an Officer of the Church.  Prior to his election in 2011 Rev. Guess worked for the national setting of the Church since 2000, first as the Communication Minister for Justice and Witness Ministers, then as Editor of United Church News before being named Communications Director for the United Church of Christ in 2007.  Rev. Guess served as a local church pastor for 12 years, including eighth years as Pastor of Zion UCC in Henderson, Kentucky.  Rev. Guess is the recipient of the Just Peace Award at the Twenty-first General Synod for his life-long commitment to justice advocacy.  Rev. Guess and his spouse, Jim Therrien live in Cleveland and are members of Pilgrim United Church of Christ.

The Rev. James Moos — has been the Executive Minister of the United Church of Christ' Wider Church Ministries and Co-executive of the United Church of Christ/Disciples’ Global Ministries for the past two years. Before being elected by the Twenty-eighth General Synod in Tampa, Rev. Moos served as Senior Pastor at Bismarck United Church of Christ in Bismarck, North Dakota for 15 years where he was active at the Conference and Association settings of the Church.  He served on the Executive Council from 2005 to 2011 and as its Chair for the 2007-2009 biennium.  Rev. Moos has a deep and personal commitment to the work of the global church, serving as a volunteer to East Timor since 2002 and as President of the East Timor Education Foundation beginning in 2004.  Rev. Moos and his wife Sharon reside in downtown Cleveland and are members of Plymouth Church UCC in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Know Your Leaders: Moderators

The Rev. Libby Tigner — is the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations in the Southern California Nevada Conference.  Her responsibilities include search and call, financial development and strengthening covenantal relationships. Prior to that Rev. Tigner served over 10 years as Associate Pastor at First Congregational UCC in Long Beach, California.  She served on the Executive Council from 2004 to 2009 where she was a member of its Budget and Finance Committee, Special Mission Offering Committee and was an Executive Council representative to the Unified Governance Taskforce.  Rev. Tigner is a co-author of the Marriage Equality Resolution adopted by the Twenty-fifth General Synod.  Prior to entering the ministry Rev. Tigner was a nurse manager responsible for a staff of 75 nurses and support staff.  She was ordained in 1995.  Rev. Tigner and her partner Gail Schwandner live in Long Beach, California.   

Ms. Dale Bonds — is a retired systems engineer for IBM.  A resident of New Orleans she is a Katrina survivor, spending months after the storm rebuilding her home and working to consolidate two devastated congregations into one vibrant new church, Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ.  In the aftermath of Katrina she volunteered at the office of the United Church of Christ Disaster Response Ministry, assisting in scheduling volunteer work groups and keeping financial records.  Ms. Bonds serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Ms. Bonds served as Chair of the Twenty-fifth General Synod Credentials Committee.  She has served as church secretary, on the Diaconate, church treasurer and as a Sunday school teacher over the years, in addition to being involved at the Association level.  Ms. Bonds and her husband James are the parents of four children. 
Mr. Brian Holeman — is a Superior Court Judge of the District of Columbia.  Mr. Holeman is a former member of the Office of General Ministries Board of Directors and served on the Executive Council from 2003 to 2009.  He served as the Chair of its Organizational Life Committee for two of those years and was deeply involved as a member of the Governance Follow-Up Team. After leaving the Executive Council he served on the Constitutional Working Group, rewriting the Constitution and Bylaws to enable the Proposal for Single Governance.  He has served as a Deacon, Trustee and as Vice-chair of the Search Committee of his local church.  Mr. Holeman is a former Trustee of the Chicago Theological Seminary and sits on the Board of Directors of the United Church Funds.  Prior to confirmation by the United States Senate of his appointment to the court Mr. Holeman was a practicing attorney.  Mr. Holeman and his wife are the parents of a son.  He is a member of Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC.

Know Your Leaders: Parliamentarians

Ms. Denise Page Hood and Mr. Robert Frieberg will serve as Parliamentarians for the Twenty-ninth General Synod. Mr. Frieberg will serve on the platform with the Moderators while Ms. Hood will be at the parliamentarian' table on the plenary floor.

Ms. Hood has served as General Synod Parliamentarian on two previous occasions.  She served as Moderator of the Twenty-second General Synod. Ms. Hood is a Federal District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. Ms. Hood' husband, the Rev. Nicholas Hood is pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit.

Mr. Frieberg is an attorney in private practice.  He served as Assistant Moderator of the Twenty-second General Synod and is a long-time General Synod Parliamentarian.  He sits as member of the American Bar Association' governing House of Delegates.  Mr. Frieberg is a member of Congregational United Church of Christ of Beresford, South Dakota.

Chairperson of the Executive Council

The Rev. Penny Lowes — is the elected Chair of the Executive Council, coming to the Executive Council from the Michigan Conference.  She has served two churches since her ordination in 1999.  Prior to entering the ministry, Rev. Lowes was a public school teacher, director of Christian education and corporate trainer.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Evangelical Homes of Michigan, a CHHSM agency, and has served various ministries assisting the homeless and marginalized.  She and her husband Dean live in Rochester, Michigan.   

The Executive Council acts for the General Synod at all times when General Synod itself is not in session (Bylaw Paragraph 229). During the General Synod, the Council serves as the General Synod' Budget Committee, Business Committee, and Committee of Reference.  As Chairperson, Rev. Lowes will present to the General Synod those items which have originated with the Executive Council and those on which previous General Synods have directed the Executive Council to act.  She will chair the meetings of the Business Committee and is responsible for dealing directly or through subcommittees with matters of reference, budget, and agenda. Rev. Lowes will work closely with the Moderators, the Officers of the Church, and the General Synod staff to oversee the functioning of the plenary sessions.

General Synod Nominating Committee

The Rev. J. Matthew Deal is the Chairperson and Ms. Angela Myers serves as Vice-chairperson, of the 27 member General Synod Nominating Committee. Rev. Deal is pastor of St. Paul' United Church Christ in Somerset, Pennsylvania.   Ms. Myers is a public school teacher and a member of Corinth Chapel United Church of Christ in Suffolk, Virginia where her husband John is the pastor.

The Nominating Committee' selections for election to the United Church of Christ Board will be posted on the United Church of Christ website's General Synod Section in late spring.  At the General Synod Rev. Deal will present the report of the committee and he and several other members of the committee will be present at the Nominating Committee hearing on Sunday evening, June 30th, to explain the nominating process.

The Responsibility of Delegates: A Checklist

______     Read all advance materials that will be posted on the website.
______     Check with your Conference office about meeting and housing registration.
______     Attend the annual meetings of your Conference and Association.
______     Attend your Conference' orientation for delegates.
______     Arrange for opportunities to report on the General Synod after you get home.
______     Make travel arrangements; plan to arrive in Long Beach by late morning on Friday, June 28, 2013.
______     Remember to print out all of the resolutions, the General Synod Standing rules, and any other business and take them with you to Long Beach

______     Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and get settled.
______     Pick up materials in the registration area of the convention center.
______     Examine the program.
______     Become acquainted with the facilities; discover the shortest distance between points; know location of the essentials—plenary sessions, worship, hearings, exhibit hall, General Synod office, fire exits, etc.
______     Establish contact with the Chairperson of your Conference delegation.

______     Wear delegate' badge to all sessions—it is your credential.
______     Attend the Educational Intensives beginning at 1:00 pm, June 28th in the convention center. These are important opportunities for you to learn about the issues related to the various resolutions General Synod will consider.
______     Attend the First Plenary at 3:30 pm, June 28th in the convention center
______     Honor agenda times (be on time).
______     Honor instructions and assignments
______     Participate fully in the General Synod (the microphones are available to all delegates)

______     Be in touch with local media to insure accuracy of reporting on the meeting.
______     Follow-up on opportunities to report on the meeting in your local church, Association, and Conference.
______     Take the initiative to be available to other churches and groups.
______     Review carefully the minutes of the General Synod when they become available online.

A United Church of Christ Lexicon
Verbs in Common Use in the United Church of Christ (Selected Dictionary Definitions)

To Collaborate    To labor as the associate of another; performing work together.
To Consult    To ask advice or opinion as a guide to one' own judgment.
To Cooperate    To work with mutual efforts to promote the same objective.
To Coordinate    To bring entities into causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relationship; to harmonize.
To Negotiate    To confer regarding a basis of agreement; to arrange for.

Advisory Commission:  A temporary body appointed by the Executive Council.

Affiliated Ministry: A non-profit corporation which provides services to or for the United Church of Christ, whose Board of Trustees is elected by its corporate membership, and which was recognized previously as an instrumentality by the General Synod. The Pension Boards are an Affiliated Ministry.

Associated Ministry: A non-profit corporation which provides services to or for the United Church of Christ, whose corporate membership is nominated and elected by the Executive Council, and which was recognized previously as an instrumentality by the General Synod. The United Church Funds is an Associated Ministry.

Association: That body within a Conference of the United Church of Christ which is composed of all local churches in a geographical area, all Ordained Ministers holding standing or ordained ministerial partner standing therein, all Commissioned Ministers and Licensed Ministers in that Association.

Biennium: For matters related to budgeting and programming, a biennium is the two-year period following January 1 of the year after a General Synod adjourns; for matters related to responsibility of Executive Council members and others elected by General Synod, a biennium is the two-year period from General Synod to General Synod.

Board of Directors:  The policy-making body of a Covenanted or Associated Ministry.

Body:  Any organized body at the national level of the United Church of Christ. The word "body" (always written with a lower-case "b") is used in the United Church of Christ as a generic term—not in a legal meaning unless so indicated by its context. The expression "body of the United Church of Christ" refers to all organized national bodies—whether or not in the Constitution or Bylaws—whether programmatic or advisory or policy making—whether permanent or temporary—whether large or small.

Caucus: A meeting of any group often convened with the intention of influencing policy decisions of a larger, more powerful body. A caucus is an informal group called at any time as respective members of that group strategizes on a particular issue.

Collegium of Officers: Composed of the Officers of the United Church of Christ, as defined in Article IV of the Constitution, the Collegium of Officers supports the Covenanted Ministries in carrying out their work in a spirit of coordination and cooperation. It is responsible for providing leadership for mission programming in the United Church of Christ and for the proper implementation of General Synod actions.

Conference: That body of the United Church of Christ which is composed of all Local Churches in a geographical area, all Ordained Ministers holding standing or ordained ministerial partner standing it its Associations or in the Conference itself when acting as an Association, all Commissioned Ministers and Licensed Ministers in its Associations.

Council: A body created by the General Synod for the principal purpose of advising the Officers or the Executive Council or other bodies of the Church. A Council' areas of concern are related to those of persons with like concerns who normally compose such Councils. Note: the Executive Council is an exception to this general definition.

Covenanted Ministry: There are four covenanted ministries as defined and set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws, whose purpose is to capture the spirit as well as the substance of the relationships among the parts of the United Church of Christ in its national setting.

Executive Council: Acts for the General Synod ad interim and, in cooperation with the Collegium of Officers, shall provide coordination and evaluation of the work of the Church and shall carry out such other responsibilities as may be from time to time delegated to it by the General Synod, provided that such responsibilities are not otherwise delegated to a Covenanted Ministry.

General Synod: The General Synod is the representative body of the United Church of Christ composed of delegates chosen by the Conferences, voting members of Board of Directors of Covenanted Ministry, and ex officio delegates.

Inter-Ministry Team: Consists of people from different Covenanted, Affiliated, Associated, and/or other Ministries who meet together to address a topic of common concern.

Local Church: The basic unit of the life and organization of The United Church of Christ is the local church.

Ministry Team: Consists of staff persons with related program responsibilities within a Covenanted Ministry, generally led by a Team Leader.

Mission Planning Council: Provides a multi-missional setting bringing together the Officers of the United Church of Christ and principle staff, leaders, or designated representatives of the Covenanted, Associated, and Affiliated Ministries for planning coordinated ministries and for visioning over a wide range of concerns.

Special Group:  Any group of persons who represent a constituency with a particular concern or specialized interest. There may or may not be formal organizational ties. In order to be granted voice without vote by General Synod, a group must meet the criteria set forth in the standing rules.

Task Force:   A body named by the General Synod or the Executive Council or any body to perform a single precisely-defined undertaking within a given time. Any Task Force named by General Synod or the Executive Council is responsible to the Executive Council and immediately responsible to the Executive Council' Coordinating Committee.

United Church of Christ Abbreviations

Association of United Church Educators
Biblical Witness Fellowship
Council for American Indian Ministry
Congregational Christian Historical Society
Council of Conference Ministers
Council for Higher Education
Council for Health and Human Service Ministries
Council for Hispanic Ministries
Collegium Relationship Committee
Christians for Justice Action
Consultation on Church Union
Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries
Conferences of the United Church of Christ Insurance Advisory Board
Mid-America Seminaries, Chicago, United, and Eden
Council on Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Executive Council
Evaluation, Planning, and Policy Committee
Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society
General Synod
Justice and Witness Ministries
Historical Council
Local Church Ministries
Ministers for Racial, Social, and Economic Justice
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
Office of General Ministries
Organizational Life Committee
Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries
The Pension Boards
Program and Planning Committee of the Twenty-ninth General Synod
The StillSpeaking Ministry
United Black Christians
UCC Disabilities Ministries
Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns
United Church Funds
Wider Church Ministries
World Council of Churches

Conference Abbreviations

California Nevada, Northern
California Nevada, Southern
Calvin Synod
Central Atlantic
Central Pacific
Illinois South
Missouri Mid-South
Montana-Northern Wyoming
New Hampshire
Northern Plains
New York
Pacific Northwest
Penn Central
Penn Northeast
Pennsylvania Southeast
Penn West
Rhode Island
Rocky Mountain
South Central
South Dakota

Decision Making and the Committee Process for General Synod 29
One of the things we can count on at this upcoming General Synod is that we will be asked to consider and make decisions on a number of matters: resolutions, a budget for the mission of the Church at the national setting, the election of three officers, the new United Church of Christ Board and the Thirtieth General Synod Nominating Committee. We will deal with these and other matters and will be guided in our deliberations by our Constitution and Bylaws, the General Synod Standing Rules, and Robert' Rules of Order. It will be helpful if delegates have reviewed these materials.

More importantly, perhaps, it might be helpful if we prepare for General Synod by first remembering who we are and reflect upon why we are gathering. We gather as the Church and as part of the Church to enable the mission of the Church, God' mission. As such, our decision-making is not so much a matter of making up our own minds, but rather of seeking to discern God' yearning for us and for the mission to which God is calling us.

Therefore, let us prepare ourselves so that as we engage in making decisions, we will do so with:
•    a prayerful attitude.
•    an attitude that is reflective upon the facts about the issue and one' feelings about it.
•    an attitude that is trusting of oneself, of all others as partners in a common search for God' leading, and of the movements of God' Spirit within and among us.
•    a willingness to listen carefully and to respond thoughtfully and compassionately.
•    an openness to other viewpoints and to alternative responses to issues which may emerge.
•    a commitment to work to resolve issues on the basis of what is most expressive of who we are at this moment and who we are called to become.
•    a graciousness that is reflective of our God.

Let us prepare ourselves to gather as a community of faith, as children of God, as sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus, whose aim in decision-making is discernment.

The Work of General Synod Committees
The General Synod committee process offers an opportunity for members of the General Synod to more fully consider and faithfully reflect upon items of business than is usually possible for the whole body. The process offers space and time for diverse points of view to be heard and honored. It also provides a smaller group and setting in which to express thoughts and perspectives on issues before the General Synod.

To consider the business of the Twenty-ninth General Synod, delegates and associate delegates will be assigned on a random basis to a committee. Committees are thus composed of the approximate mix of thoughts and perspectives represented in the full General Synod. They will deliberate on the resolutions, and other formal motions assigned to them by the General Synod, acting on the report of its Committee of Reference.

After a period of deliberation, each committee will report its recommendations to the General Synod in a plenary session and suggest a specific action in the form of a main motion.

Delegates who have agreed to chair committees will attend a training session on the day before the General Synod convenes that will provide them with the resources necessary to facilitate the work of the committees.

How It Will Happen
Hearings are opportunities to speak and listen to one another about particular issues that will come before the General Synod. They are open to everyone. Hearings will be on Sunday evening, June 30th. You can expect to have hearings on the budget and the nominating process. Other topics will be selected based on the business that is submitted in accordance with the Standing Rules.

On Sunday morning and afternoon, the committees will deliberate on the items of business assigned to them, working to produce recommendations for action by a plenary session. The substantive work of committees is to be done by delegates and associate delegates. A committee may recommend approval, amendment, consolidation, referral, or no action. Copies of the recommended action must be distributed to the Delegates before action can be taken.  .

Parliamentary Procedure at the Twenty-ninth General Synod
Whenever people work together toward a common goal, they need rules to coordinate their efforts. This is particularly true in a deliberative assembly like the General Synod, where several hundred people do a great deal of work together in a very short time. Parliamentary procedure provides a framework for thoughtful and efficient deliberation, implementing the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority.

Two parliamentary authorities are used to guide our work. One is the Standing Rules, drafted by the Executive Council and adopted at the General Synod' opening plenary session. The other is the widely-used Robert' Rules of Order, first compiled in 1876 by Major Henry M. Robert; we use the most recent edition of Robert'.  Where the two differ, the Standing Rules prevail.

The delegate area (the "bar of the house") is restricted to delegates, associate delegates, and persons with voice without vote during business sessions, all of these participants are expected to be present at the Call to Order. The platform is for the Moderator, other officers, officials, and speakers. Access is restricted to these officials.

The Moderator, Rev. Tigner, or the Assistant Moderators, Ms. Bonds and Mr. Holeman will preside over all sessions of official business. During reports from the Executive Council and other bodies, other leaders will be asked to speak from the platform and respond to questions. All debate and other official business will be in the hands of the moderators.

Assisting the Moderators will be General Synod staff and the two Parliamentarians, Mr. Frieberg and Ms. Hood. One parliamentarian will be on the platform with the moderator and one will be at the parliamentarian' table on the floor to provide assistance to delegates and to serve as back up to the parliamentarian on the platform. The parliamentarians will consult with you if you need assistance in offering a motion. The parliamentarian stationed on the floor is available during the business session and both are available before and after sessions.

Voice on the floor of the plenary of the General Synod is limited to delegates, associate delegates, and those designated voice without vote. In order to be recognized, a participant must come to a microphone.  In addition to the microphones on the platform, which will be used for the presentation of reports and business, there are microphones in the delegate area with colored signs.

Green    For speaking in favor of the question before the house.
Red    For speaking in opposition to the question.
White    For offering an amendment or other normal subsidiary motion known as procedural motion.
Yellow    For a Point of Order or other incidental or privileged motions.

A youth steward is stationed at each of these microphones to signal the Moderator when someone wishes to speak.

In the opening plenary session, the Standing Rules and Agenda are adopted. Thereafter, they may be changed or suspended only by a 2/3 vote or by "general consent." Some items of business introduced from the platform will be acted upon directly by the General Synod. Other items including new business introduced by title only—once on Friday afternoon, June 28th —will be recommended for referral to a General Synod committee, to a plenary session, or directly to an implementing body for action. For items referred to a General Synod committee, substantive consideration by the full General Synod begins when the committee to which it has been referred makes its report and moves a specific action. Still other items, introduced as new business when no other business is before the General Synod will be sent to the Business Committee, which will recommend to the General General Synod action, referral, or other disposition on the matter.

Setting Things in Motion
An item of business is opened for debate when it is offered from the platform as a Main Motion.  A main motion is in order only when no other motion is pending. It requires no second when coming from a committee. It requires a majority vote for approval. (Exceptions include Pronouncements and Constitution/Bylaw changes, which require a 2/3 vote/election of an Officer of the Church 60%.)

Debate begins when the Moderator states that "the question is before the house." At this point, the green and red microphones will be used alternately and debate will proceed in accordance with time limits and other provisions stated in the Standing Rules. While a Main Motion is under consideration, it may be modified by moving To Amend (white microphone). By "striking out" and/or "inserting" words, or by "substituting" new wording for the entire motion.

An amendment requires a Second and a majority vote. Please note that the Moderator will not entertain a motion to amend until there has been opportunity for two speeches in favor of the main motion and two in opposition. Any substantive amendment should be delivered to the platform in writing at once. It is permissible to move to "amend the amendment," but it gets terribly confusing and is not recommended.

By the way, you need not go to a microphone or be recognized by the Moderator in order to second a motion. A "second" simply indicates that there is someone besides the mover who wishes to have the motion considered. If there isn’t, the motion would only waste time and is best allowed to die quickly "for lack of a second."

There are several other motions that may be made while the main motion and amendments are pending in order to expedite the flow of business. The Subsidiary Motions (use the white microphone) follow specific rules of precedence. Below are some of the common motions in ascending order of precedence:

1.    TO REFER to a committee or other body.  Seldom used at General Synod, since time is short and most items have already been in committee.

2.    TO POSTPONE to a certain time. Again, seldom used at General Synod because of the short duration. No question may be postponed to the next General Synod because it will be a new body.

3.    TO LIMIT OR EXTEND DEBATE requires a 2/3 vote (or "general consent") because it waives the established limits.

4.    TO CLOSE DEBATE ("Previous Question") requires a 2/3 vote. At General Synod, applies only to the immediately pending question, not to a series of motions.

Note: The motion to lay on the table, which requires only a majority vote, may not be used for the purpose of closing debate and will normally not be needed in General Synod business.

There are also some Incidental Motions (yellow microphone) which have less definite rules of precedence. The common ones are:

1.    POINT OF ORDER IS used when a member thinks the rules of the General Synod are being violated. The Chair will rule.

2.    TO CALL FOR A DIVISION OF THE HOUSE during General Synod this means a     counted vote and may be ordered by a majority vote of the delegates.

3.    TO DIVIDE THE QUESTION Breaking up a motion into parts to be voted upon separately. Each part must be able to stand alone.  This requires a second and a majority vote.

4.    TO APPEAL THE DECISION OF THE CHAIR Over rules the chair' decision. This requires a second and a majority vote.

5.    TO SUSPEND THE RULES; requires a second and a 2/3 vote. 

6.    TO RECONSIDER; reopens a matter previously decided; must be made by one who voted with the prevailing side.   Thus requires a second and a majority vote to reconsider the question.

Finally, there are a few Privileged Motions which may interrupt the pending business. They are: Call For the Order Of The Day, Raise a Question of Privilege, take a Recess, and Adjourn. These are made from the yellow microphone after checking with the Floor Parliamentarian.

We hope that this introduction to parliamentary procedure will help you understand how General Synod does its work and how you as a delegate, may participate fully and constructively. Please remember, however, that this is just a general summary. The Standing Rules and Robert' Rules of Order Newly Revised are the only official guidelines and they contain specific rules which apply in particular circumstances. Please feel free to ask the Parliamentarians if you are puzzled by something or wish further guidance.

Also, voting at the Twenty-ninth General Synod will again be conducted by electronic means.  Each delegate will receive his or her voting device through their Conference, through the Executive Council or Ministry Board they represent, upon arrival in Long Beach.  The devices are simple and easy to use, but please pay close attention to instructions on how they are to be used during the First Plenary on Friday afternoon.

Contact Information
General Synod Registrar | 700 Prospect Ave. | Cleveland,Ohio 44115 | | synod@ucc.org