High fuel costs thwart Hawaii location for 2011 General Synod
Written by Gregg Brekke
October - November 2008
Alternate sites to be considered, decision due early 2009
The UCC executive committee of the Executive Council convened on Wednesday, Sept. 3, to discuss whether or not to proceed with the 2011 meeting in Hawaii or move to a different, yet undetermined, site.
Following significant discussion of the executive committee, including the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers and Hawaii Conference Minister, the Rev. Charles Buck, a motion was passed to rescind the 2006 selection of Hawaii as the site for the 2011 General Synod.
In a written memo, the Rev. Jim Moos, chair of the Executive Council, said, "Over the last several months the associate general minister, Edith Guffey, the Hawaii Conference Minister, [the] Rev. Charles Buck, and I have been in conversation about the 2011 General Synod. Of particular concern is the increased cost of air travel, a development which industry experts expect to worsen."
Moos noted that just as families and other business have been forced to make budget decisions to accommodate increasing fuel costs; the national setting of the UCC has been obliged to rethink how they do their work.
The memo emphasized that the executive committee valued the rich culture and hospitality delegates and visitors to the General Synod would have experienced by meeting in Hawaii. However, it was stated by the committee that financial concerns including increased travel costs, up approximately 50 percent from just a year ago, would result in expenses beyond what the national setting and Conferences could bear.
Buck addressed Hawaiian congregations directly saying, "Given the new realities, we, myself included, felt it was necessary to reconsider holding Synod in Hawaii."
"As I see it, however, both votes — the first that took place two years ago to hold Synod here, and then yesterday's vote not to — were reasonable decisions given what was known at the time. Sometimes God may lead us in directions opposite those we have taken earlier," said Buck.
Guffey, as well as the UCC's meeting services staff, will explore potential new sites and bring their recommendation for consideration to the spring 2009 Executive Council meeting.