Synod workshop dates announced; topics, leaders sought

People who want to attend a workshop at this summer’s General Synod can mark their calendars for July 7-10. And people who want to lead one must apply by March 26.

Those are the two latest announcements from the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, administrator of the biennial national meeting of the United Church of Christ.

That schedule is something new. Usually, when Synod is in person, workshops happen in the middle of it, on a single afternoon. This year, they will be the week before the rest of the Synod, which will take place July 11-18.

And, like the rest of this “special edition” Synod, workshops will be online. Anyone who registers for Synod can attend them. Synod registration opens April 13. Workshop registration will open in early May.

Upside of being online

The new format has advantages, said the Rev. Chris Davies. She leads a Synod team focusing on the workshops. Among the upsides:

Click on the image above to read what’s expected of General Synod workshop content and apply to be a workshop leader.
  • There will be more workshops than usual — 50 this time. There were 30 at the last Synod, in 2019.
  • People can attend more of them than usual, because they are spread over four days.
  • Because they are online, anyone registered for Synod can attend from home.
  • They will be recorded.

“I am so excited to make workshops more accessible to people all across the life of the church,” said Davies, who also leads the UCC’s Faith Education, Innovation and Formation team. “They will be free for anyone registered for the Synod itself, and available for purchase afterwards.” That way, local churches can use the workshops later, “even and especially if you are not able to attend them during General Synod.”

And for those who do go online July 7-10, “If you attend something that sparks interest and conversation, you absolutely can share it with your congregation and community,” she said.

Details for leaders

Thompson said people who want to lead workshops can read expectations and apply at this web page.

Davies said the committee seeks workshops that “reflect the United Church of Christ as it is, and equip us as we continue to live into our discipleship in Christ, the values of the United Church of Christ, and a just world for all.”

The wide range of topics in 2019 included worship, faith and finance, spiritual practices with youth, environmental justice, disability theology, global racial equity, best practices for healthy congregations, and how to be an immigrant-welcoming church, to name just a few.

Davies urged applicants to read the “equity primes” section of the form. It lists tells how evaluators will select workshops that fit UCC values.

The committee will communicate its workshop choices by April 30. Soon after that, it will announce when the list of workshops will appear and how people can sign up for them.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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