Continuing an experiment introduced at General Synod 23 two years ago, delegates to General Synod 24 will be "hearing the voices of the churches" before they vote on any proposed action.
By April 1, every resolution and pronouncement on the Synod agenda will be posted for local churches to review on the General Synod website at synod.ucc.org. Each proposed action will include an online response form that will enable congregations, or a representative body within the congregation, to register their support or opposition.
The online system—designed by the UCC's Research Services and Proclamation, Identity, and Communication Ministry—is the church's response to a Synod resolution, "Hearing the Voices of the Churches," adopted in 1999. That resolution urged Executive Council to create a "mechanism by which local churches can respond" to Synod proposals on any subject. Improved communication between congregations and Synod delegates can "strengthen the covenantal relationship and the trust levels within the United Church of Christ," the resolution said.
In 2001, only 52 congregations, less than 1 percent, registered their opinions on Synod resolutions. Partly in response to that low turnout, the system was redesigned this year to provide a longer response period of two months (instead of one) with advance publicity through United Church News and the March 2003 all church mailing. The deadline for responses is May 30.
In addition to the congregation response system, forums will be opened up on the UCC website to allow individual church members to share opinions about any issue on the Synod agenda.
General Synod 24
July 11-15, 2003
Minneapolis Convention Center
UCC churches can read and respond to resolutions at synod.ucc.org. Congregations without access to the web, or which prefer to respond through ordinary mail, can request print copies of resolutions with response forms from Mary Ann Murray, General Synod Office, 216-736-2192, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The orignal Synod resolution, "Hearing the Voices," is at synod.ucc.org/resolutions/voices.htm.
Register online to attend General Synod 24
Delegates and observers now can register online for General Synod. Any member of the church is welcome to attend.
To register, go to www.ucc.org and click on "General Synod."