Synod resolutions move to UCC Board, create space for ‘Holy Spirit to be at work’
Delegates to the United Church of Christ General Synod this summer will be wrestling with some big issues that have arisen in the country since the last Synod — through proposed resolutions that address attempts to censor the history that educators can teach and threats to abortion rights. Many seek to extend and continue the UCC’s commitments to key justice issues – responding to gun violence, working for reparations in multiple contexts, addressing mass incarceration and environmental justice – and more.
Seventeen resolutions have now moved through the Subcommittee on Disposition and will be reviewed by the UCC Board at its March meeting. Comprised of board members, the subcommittee recommends a course of action for each resolution for Board approval. These actions can include directing a resolution to a committee or plenary session at General Synod, or they can take other paths like going directly to implementing bodies or the Board.
“Of the seventeen resolutions we anticipate coming to General Synod, 15 are Resolutions of Witness, and two are Prudential Resolutions,” said Kevin Peterson, staff to the Resolution and Committee Process Team. Resolutions of Witness relate to moral, ethical or religious matters, while Prudential Resolutions are oriented toward policy, structure and procedure. Peterson said the number of resolutions submitted and ratio of resolution types seems typical compared with recent years.
Acting as the General Synod Business Committee, the Board will vote whether to affirm the suggested action of each resolution. After this, full texts of each resolution will be publicly available for review prior to Synod, taking place June 30-July 4 in Indianapolis.
Proposed resolutions list
Here are the titles of the submitted resolutions, proposed by delegates, local churches, Associations and Conferences:
- Denouncing the Dobbs Decision and Proclaiming Abortion as Healthcare.
- A Resolution Calling for a New Study by our Church on our Relationship with the Indian Boarding Schools and the Boarding Schools in Hawaii.
- Closing the Digital Divide: Calling on the United Church of Christ to Seek Digital Justice and Inclusion.
- A Resolution Urging Planning for and Implementing Electrification.
- Faithful Advocacy for Intersectional and Transformational Healing in Harm Reduction.
- Affirming Guns to Gardens and Other Gun Violence Prevention Ministries.
- A Resolution to Urge All Responsible Entities to Join in Reparations to Fund Christian Hawaiian Language Education Programs to Undo a Century of Extinction. Americanization and Indoctrination Policies Extinguished the Original Christian Hawaiian Alphabet.
- Encouraging a Plant-based Life.
- Free from Plastic Pollution.
- Free from Plastic Pollution (distinct from the other resolution of the same name).
- A Resolution Supporting Public School Educators, Academic Freedom, and Equity Efforts in Schools.
- A Resolution to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans.
- A Resolution Condemning Prolonged Solitary Confinement as a Form of Torture.
- Actively Affirming the Human Dignity of Transgender and Nonbinary persons.
- A Resolution Calling on United Church of Christ Local Churches to Witness “A White Supremacy Free Zone” and Confronting White Supremacy.
- Affirming Licensed and Commissioned Ministers as Authorized Ministers in the United Church of Christ.
- Living into God’s Economy: Celebrating the 170th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund.
Faithfulness and passion in the process
David Anderson, who serves as staff for the resolution process with Peterson, said he gets inspired by the faithfulness and passion he witnesses from those who write and submit resolutions. “They take their work seriously, and our interactions have been good and fruitful. I’m grateful for the Resolution Review Team and the Subcommittee on Disposition, who have looked carefully at the resolutions for possible issues of polity and process.”
He said that time spent earlier in the process on helping resolution submitters articulate their case and desired outcomes more clearly will hopefully clear the way for Spirit-led discernment at General Synod.
“Committees may still spend significant time on a resolution trying to find consensus or articulating their perspective in a different way,” Anderson said. “Our task is to help submitters articulate their perspective in the best way possible. We try to help create a means for the Holy Spirit to be at work in committee time, and then on the floor of plenary. And knowing the Holy Spirit will blow where they will!”
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