For next General Synod, Kansas City will welcome UCC in 2025
There’s plenty to see in Kansas City.
“We have the privilege of inviting each and every one of you to General Synod 35, which will be held in the vibrant city of Kansas City,” said Nelson. “Synod will bring us all together to do the work of the United Church of Christ, fostering important discussion and collaboration that will shape the future of our denomination.”
Members of both Conferences joined their Conference Ministers on stage to share their enthusiasm for welcoming the UCC to the “City of Fountains” July 11-15, 2025.
“Mark your calendars and save the dates for this extraordinary event where we will work together to strengthen the church, transform ideas into action and shape the future of our beloved UCC,” said Ceniceros. “We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to General Synod 35. Together let’s create an unforgettable experience that will inspire and empower us to be and to become the church that God is calling us to be.”
Thanks for hosting
During the plenary, the hosts of General Synod 34 were also celebrated. The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, General Minister and President-elect, invited the Rev. Chad Abbott, Conference Minister of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference, and members of the Conference’s local arrangements committee to the stage to receive the enthusiastic appreciation of the UCC for the extravagant welcome received throughout the week.
“We cannot put on a General Synod without the help and assistance of folks in the Conference,” said Thompson. “I want to thank Rev. Chad Abbott to get us to this place. Our volunteers are incredibly important, as is the leadership of the Conference Minister. Chad, I want to thank you for all the work you did pulling together all these volunteers that we needed.”
She then asked Abbott to introduce some of the volunteers who made Synod possible. Abbott named the committee co-chairs, the Rev. Merlyn Lawrence and Samantha Barrett, as well as the chairs of each of the five subcommittees: Kim Armstrong (operations), Jennifer Atkinson (hospitality), the Rev. Sarah Frische-Mouri Hannigan (worship), Ken Rose Jr. (youth committee), and the Rev. Kent Gilbert (special events).
Passing the gavel
This plenary also signaled a change in leadership as Bob Sandman, Moderator of General Synod 34, handed the gavel over to the Rev. Rushan Sinnaduray, pastor of The Oasis UCC in Jefferson City, Mo., and to Jean Avison of Bethel Congregational Church in Beaverton, Ore., who will serve as Moderator and Vice Moderator, respectively, for General Synod 35.
Sandman and the Rev. Cameron Barr, outgoing UCC Board chair, installed Sinnaduray and Avison into their positions.
Sandman handed Sinnaduray the Moderator’s banner to hang in his church during the next biennium. The banner, which was made by the stitchery group at Plymouth Church UCC in Fort Wayne, Ind., was presented by the Rev. Timothy Murphy, pastor of the church. It has become a tradition for the Moderator to hang the banner in their church of membership while serving as Synod Moderator.
Barr gave thanks to Sandman for his service guiding Synod business and commitment to serve on the Board for the past four years.
“You have been a wonderful Moderator for us at General Synod 34,” said Barr. “And you have always been a voice that safeguarded the integrity of our decision-making and participated in our common life together. We thank you for your service and we present to you this ceremonial gavel that you might conclude our time together with such dignity.”
Sandman also received a serenade when members of the Penn Central Conference asked for a moment of privilege to show their gratitude to the outgoing Moderator.
Change in Synod frequency
During Synod, delegates narrowly voted to change the UCC Bylaws so that General Synod gatherings will occur every three years instead of two.
However, that change will take effect following General Synod 35. So while the 35th General Synod will convene in 2025, the 36th won’t meet until 2028.
The Rev. Diane Weible, a General Synod newsroom volunteer, is a former journalist and the owner of Enkei-Resolutions, a coaching and consulting business focused on supporting churches and ministers.
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