Rain puts a damper on some General Synod events, but does not impact overall attendance
A torrential downpour has soaked the city of Cleveland during General Synod. But while the weather has rained out or impacted some events, it has not deterred registrants from attending the United Church of Christ’s biennial national gathering, taking place June 26-30 at the Cleveland Convention Center. As of Saturday, June 27, there were 3,098 Synod registrants, which organizers say is a bit higher than the average registration on the event’s second day.
“They are still coming in, they are just coming in wet,” said Denise Shimell, UCC associate for governance and General Synod administration.
The severe weather caused the cancellation of the 2015 Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival. While the UCC youth and young adults persevered and organized a min-parade and flash mob inside the convention center, Cleveland Pride’s cancellation disappointed hundreds of General Synod attendees who planned to continue the celebration of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling affirming marriage equality for all by marching in the parade. The Rev. Rod Mundy, a member of Cleveland Pride board of directors, said the event was called off to ensure the safety of those participating, and the organization is working with the City of Cleveland on rescheduling.
“Pride needed to be canceled for the safety of our LGBT family,” said Mundy. “We were disappointed because of all of the planning that went into it.”
Synod Participants have another opportunity to celebrate LBGT equality by attending the North Coast Dance Cruise on Cleveland’s Good Time III cruise ship taking place from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday, June 28. The event, organized by the Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC, will feature food, music, dancing, and a cash bar. Tickets are $30 and are available at the Coalition’s booth in the General Synod Exhibit Hall.
“This is the last gay bash left at Synod for Pride and the celebration of gay marriage,” Mundy said.
The weather also postponed the same-sex weddings that were scheduled to take place on Mall C in downtown Cleveland. The Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer said the weddings will resume on Monday from 12-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., but those who are looking to get married before then should contact the Rev. Kate Huey for the potential of an indoor wedding at the Amistad Chapel UCC, located on the first floor of the UCC’s national offices in downtown Cleveland.
UCC Ministry for Youth’s first General Synod Meal in the City, with youth and young adults sharing an outdoor meal with members of Cleveland’s homeless community, was supposed to take place in downtown Cleveland’s Willard Park, but has been relocated indoors at the Global Center for Health Innovation.
“The weather might dampen the number of community members that will join us, but we’ll see,” said the Rev. Rachel Bahr, a co-leader of the Youth @ General Synod Program.
Not surprisingly, umbrellas have been a hot commodity at the UCC Resources booth in the Exhibit Hall.
“We ran out of umbrellas yesterday and had to have a rush shipment made last night,” said Marie Tyson, UCC director of sales and distribution. “We only have about 22 left.”
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