Several General Synod resolutions being readied for review
Delegates to the United Church of Christ Special Edition General Synod, July 11-18, could be considering almost a dozen resolutions when business is called to order. The deadline for submissions just passed under a new process designed to support congregations, Conferences and other bodies in bringing them forward.
One change, approved last fall by the UCC Board, brought proposed ideas for resolutions before a four-person review team.
As General Synod staff to the Resolution & Committee, David Anderson and Kevin Peterson have been working with attorney Caroline Belsom and a UCC Board member, the Rev. Marcia Williams. In last few months, the team has assisted those submitting resolutions with their drafts and to ensure the topics are timely — and that they have not been addressed by the previous two Synods.
“At this point two years ago, we had 21 resolutions that were submitted, compared to 11 this year,” Anderson said, noting that fewer resolutions are better in a virtual setting. “We know there will some different ways of forming committees and addressing issues and resolutions this year and appreciate the General Synod Program and Planning Committee’s careful look at ways to be faithful and accessible in this work.”
That careful look involves a second change. A proponent of any “resolution of witness” will be required to lead a conversation – at Synod – on how settings like congregations and Conferences might implement the resolution. These new “implementation conversations” don’t apply to “prudential resolutions,” nor to resolutions that request action by national ministries.
A third change is designed to free up Synod plenary time by grouping “noncontroversial” resolutions into a “consent agenda.” In the past, resolutions expected to pass have been sent directly, but individually, to plenary for consideration. In a consent agenda, they would be approved all at once in plenary, after the proponent of each such resolution has two minutes to speak.
This year, “the broad topics include race and ethnic relations, criminal justice, environmentalism, gender disparities, and UCC character and polity,” Peterson said.
Now that the resolutions are in, they go to the General Synod Subcommittee on Disposition, made up of UCC Board members, which will recommend a course of action for each.
“Probably most will be designated as resolutions of witness, though a few prudential resolutions may work their way forward,” Anderson said. “It’s always fascinating and heart-warming to see the passion and faithfulness of people and settings, and the ways there is care and commitment to make the world a better place, and to call us to speak and act with faithfulness and integrity.”
As in years past, there is still an opportunity to submit late resolutions that address topics that could not have been anticipated by the Jan. 2 deadline.
All resolutions will be available for review on the General Synod website after the subcommittee has determined how each will be handled and those decisions are affirmed by the UCC Board.
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