Synod offerings collect thousands to support UCC initiatives
Delegates, visitors and other attendees of the 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ gave more than $4,000 in the final worship offering, which will help build a new opportunity for disabled theologians of color through the Fannie Lou Hamer Scholarship Fund.
The idea for the scholarship came from the UCC Disabilities Ministries board, especially board member the Rev. JJ Flag, who preached at the closing worship.
In issuing the call for the offering, UCC Disabilities Ministry board co-chair Bekah Maren Anderson explained that Hamer was a black, disabled civil rights leader and community organizer who “advocated for intersectional justice, using her faith to energize and motivate her activism.”
During worship, donors gave $4,155, adding to the $50,000 initial gift from the UCCDM board.
“Fannie Lou Hamer strove for a world where all people have the things they need to live and thrive,” Anderson said. “But the health costs of white supremacy and poverty took her life too soon. She had so little time to live into the rights and freedom she fought so hard to give to others and we will never know what others gifts she could have given this world.”
BIPOC disabled folk do not have all they need to survive, thrive and live into their call, Anderson said. This scholarship, she continued, will help address some of this need by supporting the development of theology “at the intersection of disability and race.”
“What other gifts are the world and the church missing?” she asked.
Earlier offerings collected $7,763 for the work of the World Communion of Reformed Churches with Indigenous peoples globally, while the community worship offering collected $5,200 to support the UCC’s Annual Fund.
“May our gifts testify to the church we wish to be, and the church we hope to become,” Anderson said.
Synod-goers also demonstrated their generosity through special dining events. A fundraising dinner for the Join the Movement campaign, headlined by Ibram X. Kendi, collected $5,540 from donors, while $2,040 was donated to the Antoinette Brown Society, which handed out its Catalyst and Trailblazer awards during Synod.
Tiffany Vail, a General Synod newsroom volunteer, is the director of media and communications for the Southern New England Conference.
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