General Synod 34 theme and logo affirmed by UCC Board
“Making All Things New” will be the theme of the 34th biennial General Synod of the United Church of Christ, scheduled for June 30–July 4, 2023, in Indianapolis.
The scripture verse is from Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The logo, said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, General Synod administrator, is open to interpretation.
“A good logo makes you imagine, it makes you think, it makes you find yourself in it,” she said.
“With the logo design, we wanted to think about what ‘newness’ looks like – about something emerging – like a sunrise or a petal opening – something that’s welcoming.
“There are clearly images of creation, of green, a wave, a sunrise, a flower. It speaks of creating and created – and points to possibility. We want people to look at the logo and see, from their own experience, something new.”
What things are new
“Making All Things New” was confirmed March 10 by vote of the 13-member General Synod Program and Planning Committee and presented to the United Church of Christ Board for affirmation at its March 11 meeting via Zoom.
“The General Synod Program and Planning Committee hopes that ‘Making All Things New’ evokes a post-pandemic time,” said Bob Sandman, a member of Lakeview UCC, Maineville, Ohio, and General Synod moderator. “And the theme prepares the way for the election of a new general minister and president. In Isaiah 43:19, God says, ‘I am about to do a new thing.’ So the logo shows what could be a rising sun or a blooming flower over flowing springs.”
“’Making All Things New’ resonated with all the members of the GSPPC,” Thompson said. “Coming out of the pandemic, we see something new emerging, not just as a church, but as people. We may also see some new things about how we approach Synod, with General Synod 34.
“What they are, we don’t know yet. We’ve learned so much, putting on the virtual General Synod last year. How will that enhance the experience the next time?”
For example, Thompson said, “Prerecording the educational intensives was a wonderful experience. We might want to continue to prerecord those informational events so all delegates can access all the intensives, not just those for the committees on which they serve.”
She noted that delegates were not running from Point A to Point B to be informed about more than one resolution during the virtual 2021 Synod. That’s worth thinking about. Going forward, Synod planners are also thinking about folks who may not be able to attend in person, but want the event experience.
With the logo, theme and scripture determined, Thompson and her team can start to plan, structure, design – and define – the event.
“A hybrid General Synod is still to be defined,” she said. “The event has long been live-streamed, but with the pandemic, live streaming has been more embedded in our consciousness as a way of engagement. We are looking at what we layer with streaming to make it more engaging to others who are not participating live with us on site.”
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