Written by Cliff Aerie
"God is still speaking," is the theme for General Synod 24, to be held July 11-15, 2003, in Minneapolis.
"Our church has a unique heritage; a tradition that affirms the prophetic voice of our General Synod," says Ron Buford, UCC Public Relations and Marketing Manager. "Our theology emphasizes that when we gather, the Spirit of God moves among us and speaks to us in new ways. Our task is to have the ears to hear God's new Word for each new day."
"God is still speaking," also is the theme of the UCC's identity emphasis currently being used by more than 70 churches. It is based on the message, "Never place a period where God has placed a comma," that comedian George Burns is reported to have found in a stack of personal papers left for him by his deceased wife, Gracie Allen.
"A comma is a powerful symbol," says Buford. "God's Word is still being revealed. It is not a once-for-all-time, never changing creed. It is a living, breathing Word that spurs us to discipleship. God is, indeed, still speaking."
The logo for the General Synod theme was developed by Durga Bernhard, an artist from the Catskill Mountains in New York. Basing her work on a comma, Bernhard portrays the sweeping presence of God's compassionate care for humanity and the world. Vibrant colors and rich theological symbolism provide a visual feast for the eyes while providing an artistic invitation to recognize God's call.
Bernhard has illustrated numerous children's books and is a professional dancer and drummer. She brings a deep love of African culture, spirituality and the natural world to her work. Her archetypical imagery reveals themes of healing, transformation, music, ritual and prayer. For many years she has designed bulletin covers for the UCC's Every Sunday Bulletin Service.
The Rev. Cliff Aerie is Special Events Producer for the Proclamation, Identity and Communications Ministry.