God's VisionLove

Whether you are a seasoned General Synod visitor or this is your first time, the information that you will find on this page should be helpful as you begin to make plans—remember, no two General Synods are alike so be sure to read carefully. And be sure to check this site frequently as new or updated information will be posted to assist you with your plans.

Or download the visitor handbook in PDF.

Venue in Long Beach, California
Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802 is located in the heart of downtown Long Beach, the Center is within walking distance to first-class accommodations, shopping, dining, attractions, and sightseeing along picturesque bays and 5 1/2 miles of sandy beach. The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is a spectacular multi-purpose complex - one of the few such waterfront facilities nationwide. The glass concourse and lobby offer expansive views of the scenic harbor and downtown skyline. A pedestrian promenade links hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions with the Pacific Ocean.

Brief Overview of Events
The General Synod will begin at 1:00 pm on Friday, June 28th with Educational Intensives which will be an opportunity for delegates and visitors to take an in-depth look at issues that come to the General Synod in resolutions.  Opening plenary begins at 3:00 pm; the dinner hour will feature sponsored meals; plenary will resume at 7:30 pm and close with the opening worship service. Among the many business items at General Synod 29, delegates and visitors will hear from the candidates for the General Minister and President, the Executive Ministers for Local Church Ministries and Justice and Witness Ministries as delegates prepare to re-elect these officers of the church.

Saturday will be a time of light business in the morning and in the afternoon there will be workshops and service projects and you'll have an opportunity to purchase tickets to a catered luau with music and dances of the South Pacific, hosted by the Southern California Nevada Conference's Samoan Ministries Table.  Saturday evening will feature the folk and blues sounds of acclaimed Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon in a special concert featuring this mother-daughter collaboration.

On Sunday morning delegates will be in committees for focused deliberation and will recommend action on resolutions and other business items. Sunday afternoon we welcome the members of the local churches of southern California and members of the Long Beach area to a community wide worship service.  And then Sunday evening, delegates and visitors will have the opportunity to attend the hearings on the budget, the General Synod Nominating Committee process and on the Formal Motion "The Affirmation of Relationship between the United Church of Christ and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries."

Monday and Tuesday General Synod will turn to its business and consider the resolutions and other formal motions, the UCC's unique method of speaking to the world, and there will be elections of Officers of the Church and the members of the first governing board under the new governance structure. But it won't be all business. Delegates and visitors will hear from fascinating and inspiring speakers in between business sessions and, of course, everything wraps up Tuesday evening with a big, wonderful and heart-lifting worship service as we end our time in Long Beach and sunny southern California.

See the Calendar of Events for a detailed schedule of events.

Event Registration
Everyone who attends General Synod is required to register. Registration fees are a significant part of the income that supports the General Synod. The registration process generates your name badge and other credentials that inform the Convention Center security personnel that you are part of this event and will be your ticket into General Synod events and activities.

There are a few different registration categories: Full, Youth, Friday – Sunday, and a single day Saturday, Monday or Tuesday.  You can register online, purchase sponsored meal tickets and make your hotel arrangements. You can help us in our planning by registering as soon as possible. please note that online registration will be temporarily closed May 20-24, 2013 with the last day to register online being June 20, 2013. The last day to purchase sponsored meal tickets is May 19, 2013.

The registration fees for this General Synod have been approved and voted on by the UCC Executive Council and are as follows:
$225    Registration for the full five days of General Synod;
$150    Registration for the full five days of General Synod for youth 18 years and younger;
$175    Registration for Friday through Sunday
$75    Registration for a single day (Saturday, Monday or Tuesday)

On-site Registration Hours
Thursday     June 27, 2013        5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Friday        June 28, 2013        8:30 AM – 7:30 PM
Saturday    June 29, 2013        7:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Sunday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 2, 2013, registration assistance will be available in the General Synod office.

Information Table
There will be a table near the registration area located in the Convention Center with information regarding restaurants, local events, shopping and maps.

Special Needs
Please contact Susan Buchenau at ucclmsam@yahoo.com for details regarding assistance with mobility (wheelchairs and scooters), visual and hearing assistance or other special needs during General Synod.  Those who require a wheelchair accessible room should indicate this at the time hotel reservations are made.  There will be a special needs table in the registration area at the Convention Center for your assistance.

Childcare and Program for Children Pre K through 8th Grade
Onsite child care for ages 0-3 and a children's program for Pre-K through 8th grade (which will include offsite field trips) will be offered by the Local Arrangements Committee during all scheduled business sessions and worship services beginning on Friday afternoon, June 28, through Tuesday evening, July 2.  The fee is $5 per child per session.  All child care staff and volunteers have been screened in compliance with the Southern California Nevada Conference Safe Church Policy.

Each child care session will open 15 minutes prior to scheduled business sessions/worship services and will close 15 minutes after.  Parents are expected to drop off and pick up their children within these times.  While parents will be picking up their children for lunch and dinner recesses, this program will provide snacks and beverages.

A detailed schedule (including full field trip information and staff contact information for those participating in the offsite components of the children's program) will be sent to you when it becomes available and upon receipt of your registration form and payment.  At this time, we are hoping to offer offsite field trips to the Aquarium of the Pacific (www.aquariumofpacific.org), Rancho Los Alamitos (www.rancholosalamitos.com), and the Queen Mary (www.queenmary.com). Please note that outings may be subject to change due to local availability.

To register your child/children, go to http://www.ucc.org/synod/child-care-childrens.html please fill out a children's program registration form, enclose your check, and mail it to the address provided on the form.  Registration deadline is June 1, 2013.  All children must be registered by this date. In order to ensure proper staff to child ratios, drop in care is not available. Questions may be directed to Susie Bjork at pastorsusie@bayshorechurch.org or (562) 433-0401.

Youth and Young Adult Opportunities
God's Vision calls the youth and young adults to come unto the Lord. Jesus said, "Don't stop children from coming to me! Children like these are part of God's beloved community." (Matthew 19:14). The youth and young adult program will extend ongoing extravagant welcome in Exhibit Hall C of the Long Beach Convention Center. Pre-Synod activities hosted June 26 through June 28 are for participants registered with the Youth@General Synod program only.  All youth and young adult participants registered for General Synod at-large are invited to share in afterhours outreach, workshops, worship and plenary scheduled for June 28—opening plenary & worship through July 02—closing plenary & worship. The Council for Youth and Young Adults Ministries (CYAM) will host a special border immersion experience in collaboration with the UCC's Centro Romero, Saturday, June 29th.  The Council for Youth and Young Adults will also host a sponsored lunch open to all, Monday, July 1, 12 noon to 2:30 PM (Exhibit Hall C). You will find the options to sign up for the border experience, meals and the Pre-Synod youth activities via the General Synod registration site. Share in God's vision by sharing in youth and young adults outreach at General Synod! Contact Waltrina Middleton, Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership Formation, at youth@ucc.org or 216-736-3871.

Traveling to General Synod
There are three airports that serve Long Beach; LAX (23 miles), John Wayne Airport (24 miles) and Long Beach Airport  (6 miles), although LAX and John Wayne Airport are 23 and 24 miles from the Convention Center, traffic can make the trip a lot longer to and from Long Beach.  Sharing a cab is around $70 one-way. You can also make online reservations for the SuperShuttle, a 10% discount will be given (about $17 per person from LAX to the Convention Center for a shared van). Go to http://www.supershuttle.com/default.aspx?GC=B6HCJ and if the code B6HCJ does not appear in the Group/Discount Code box, simply enter it.

Delta Airlines has set up a meeting discount for the United Church of Christ General Synod Meeting in Long Beach, CA.  Below are the details:

Travel dates:          June 22 through July 8, 2013.

Airports included:         Long Beach, Los Angeles and Ontario.

Travel origination:     USA or Canada

Discount:            5% off discounted and restricted fares, or 10% off full and non-restricted fares.

Discount is only available when booking with MTS Travel and a $33.00 ticketing MTS ticketing fee applies. (Discount not available directly with Delta.) The lowest fare inventories are excluded from the discount; those inventories are T, U & L.  The consultants will know which fares may or may not be discounted. The meeting discount is not valid with other discounts, certificates, coupons or other promotional offers.  This meeting discount may help travelers with some savings if the lower fare inventories are full when they are ready to confirm their travel.

Liz Prom and Jacqueline Ripley are the travel consultants with MTS Travel that arrange the UCC travel and are aware of the meeting discount and appropriate ticketing entries. They will be happy to assist you.  Contact MTS and ask for either Jacqueline Ripley or Liz Prom at 800-247-7035 or at ucc@mtstravel.com.

Arriving in Long Beach
We encourage you to plan to arrive in Long Beach in time to drop off your luggage, make your way to the Convention Center, pick up your credentials at the registration area and attend the Educational Intensives that begin at 1:00 PM. Keep in mind that the Educational Intensives will focus on the issues of the resolutions that will come before the General Synod.  This is actually the educational part of committees (separated intentionally from the deliberation and action time) so it's especially important that delegates attend these sessions. The opening plenary will begin at 3:30 pm in Hall A in the Convention Center.

Hotel check in time varies, but at most hotels the time is 3:00 PM; the hotel may allow you to check in early if there are rooms available.  If there aren't any rooms available, store your luggage at your hotel and make your way to the Convention Center.

Those of you who are seasoned General Synod visitors are used to making your hotel arrangements on-line through a housing bureau after the registration process was completed. Long Beach does not have a housing bureau; consequently General Synod registrants will make their own hotel reservations by contacting the hotel directly. We have negotiated with several hotels in the city and reserved blocks of rooms.  Registration will open January 21, 2013. Upon successful completion of the registration process you will be provided with a link that will have a list of the contracted hotels and contact information.  If you have any questions please contact Christina Sattler at sattlerc@ucc.org or 216-736-2131. Hotel space close to the Convention Center is extremely limited so you are advised to make your reservations early. Click here to find a roomate for General Synod.

Educational Intensives, Hearings and Committees
The Educational Intensives on the resolution topics were first instituted in Tampa two years ago and proved to be so popular and such a benefit to delegates that we will be conducting them again as the first General Synod event, starting at 1:00 on Friday afternoon, June 28th.  They're open to anybody who is registered for General Synod and are conducted by experts in the field of the respective topic. These primers are a real aide to delegates who will later be attending the committee session on the issue.

The General Synod committees will convene Sunday morning and continue into Sunday afternoon.  Delegates are assigned a committee, by random draw, prior to General Synod and are expected to attend their assigned committee session.  The committees will recommend on the disposition of General Synod resolutions, recommending approval or defeat. The committees may also amend resolutions or recommend tabling a resolution. Beginning Monday morning the committee chairs will report the committee finding to a plenary of the General Synod where delegates will vote the issue.

General Synod Hearings will be in session Sunday evening.  There will be a hearing on the budget and on the nominating process.   There will also be a hearing on the Formal Motion "Affirmation of Relationship between the United Church of Christ and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries." General Synod Hearings are open to all delegates and visitors.

Worship Themes
The theme for General Synod 2013 in Long Beach is "God's Vision: ___________" inspired by the Prophet Habakkuk:

I will stand at my watch-post,
   and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what the Holy One will say to me,
   and what God will answer concerning my complaint.
Then God answered me and said:
Write the vision;
   make it plain on tablets,
   so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
   it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
   it will surely come, it will not delay.

Habakkuk 2: 1-3: NRSV, adapted

In this transitional moment for the UCC we will seek God's vision throughout the five worship experiences of General Synod.

On Friday evening we will look for God's prophetic vision:  edgy, risky, calling us to the edge of ministry for justice.  The Rev. Neichelle R. Guidry-Jones of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago will preach on the classic text of prophetic vocation leading to Jesus "on the edge": Luke 4: 14-30:  "Spirit of the Lord is upon me…."

Saturday Morning Prayer will help us create a space in ourselves for God's vision: accepting Jesus' invitation to "Come away and rest" (Mark 6: 30-32) we will engage in a prayerful, joyful, contemplative time, calling us to make "space for grace" in our own selves and in our community.

Sunday's Service of Holy Communion will celebrate God's vision of being all in all in our world: We will explore Revelation 22: 4 in The Message translation: ‘Everyone Mirrors God' in a diverse community of justice and peace.  The Rev. Martin Copenhaver, Senior Minister of Wellesley United Church of Christ, in Wellesley, MA will preach.

Monday Evening Prayer will open us up to the power of God's vision, calling us to transformation.  After a day of business which will help move us from the old structure into the new, we will call on Julian DeShazier, Senior Minister of University Church in Chicago, also known as hip hop artist J.Kwest, to lead us in a prayer of letting go, and opening up space for the new thing God is doing in our midst.

Tuesday's Closing Worship, God's Vision calls us to New Life will use the musical tradition of a New Orleans style Jazz Funeral to celebrate all that is past and look toward the future. The Rev. Jo Hudson, Senior Minister of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX,   will send us forth with words of hope, justice and joy.

Exhibit Hall
Be sure to visit the exhibit hall (Hall B) which will feature displays, resources, shopping opportunities, refreshments and plenty of areas to sit down and catch up with old and new acquaintances!

The always popular General Synod workshops will be conducted Saturday afternoon of General Synod. These informative and educational sessions are open to all delegates and registered visitors.  Topics generally offer helpful hints for the local church, local church pastors and church staff and volunteers; help for everything from managing the church choir to youth ministry.  A full schedule of the Long Beach workshops will be posted on the website in early May.

Service and Immersion Projects
Register or add to your General Synod Registration (you'll need your confirmation number) at www.ucc.org/synod

Border Immersion Experience hosted by CYYAM (Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries)
This is an all-day event. Pre-Registered and pre-paid participants will depart Saturday, June 29th at 6:30 a.m. from the Convention Center bus round-about and return around 8:00 p.m.  See signage at Convention Hall C.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.   Participants will experience the U.S. – Mexico border through the ministries of the UCC’s Centro Romero Center – an immersion center of Justice and Witness Ministries.  Members of CYYAM will lead reflection on issues encountered.  This is an intergenerational event.

Blood Drive - Location:  Convention Center Room 203A
Friday, June 28th  11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 29th  11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Learn of advocacy efforts with government agencies about who is allowed to donate blood. 
Help the UCC General Synod to meet a goal of at least 100 pints donated during this 2-day drive.

Beach Walk and Clean-Up  Saturday, June 29th afternoon during the Celebration on the Marina Green.  Pick up your trash bag at Beach Clean-Up Station.  Participants will walk the beach front for exercise and practice environmental stewardship by picking up trash. No registration needed.

Service and Immersion Projects - Saturday, June 29th - Afternoon
All-Project Orientation and Commissioning begins immediately after the Saturday morning plenary - approximately 11:30 a.m. in Youth Room.  Convention Hall C.

• Pre-registration and payment is required.  Boxed lunches are provided. 
• Each experience includes hands-on service opportunities, reflection, and ideas for follow-up and further commitment.
• Participants will return to the Convention Center approximately 4:00 p.m.

Project - Food Bank
Participants will assist with food distribution and learn of the network of systems in place to address hunger and advocate for food sustainability.  Wear closed-toed shoes.

Project - Homeless Veterans
Participants will engage with national model program for the homeless in Long Beach.  Wear closed-toed shoes.

Project - Prison Visitation
Participants will visit the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution located in San Pedro, CA near Long Beach.  The experience will include a tour by prison officials, conversation with volunteers who visit as part of the UCC-supported ‘Prisoner Visitation and Support Program', and informal discussion of criminal justice and human rights.

Project - Retirement Communities
Visit facilities of the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) in the Long Beach area.  The Retirement Housing Foundation is part of the UCC's Council for Health and Human Service Ministries with a focus on affordable housing.  Participants will join outreach projects of residents of these retirement communities.

Local and Nearby Attractions

Tours to Hollywood and the Beaches (Pick-up in Long Beach, 0.0 miles away)
Sunseeker Tours provides daily full and half day tours to Hollywood and the Beaches. Your tour will include the famous Hollywood Sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and Sunset Strip. After lunch, you'll visit star homes, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. The return to Long Beach via the Vincent Thomas and Gerald Desmond Bridges completes the day with a spectacular view of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. You'll also stop at many points along the way for free time, shopping and lunch.

Disneyland (Anaheim, CA, 26.2 miles away)
For generations, Disneyland® Park has been the place where dreams come true with exciting new attractions joining classic favorites. Located steps away is another world of fun and adventure at Disney California Adventure™ Park.

Knotts Berry Farm (Buena Vista, CA, 20.4 miles away)
Celebrating its 87th year, Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park is just the place to go for family fun! More than 165 rides, shows, attractions, restaurants and shops in six themed areas shape the Knott's experience. From world-class thrills like Silver Bullets to the action-packed Old West Ghost Town® and six-acre Camp Snoopy, Knott’s has something for every member of your family.

Tours of The Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA, 0.0 miles away)
Come aboard the legendary Queen Mary. Book the Behind the Scenes Guided Tour of the historic ocean liner and World War II troopship, and see restored areas that have been under wraps since the final voyage in 1967, including the Isolation Wards and the aft Machine Rooms. Then board one of the Cold War's hottest weapons, the Russian submarine, code name: Scorpion. It's rugged, spartan, cramped and shrouded in secrecy. Feel the chill of 300 feet of Cold War menace.

Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA, 0.0 miles away)
Take a journey of discovery through the world's largest ocean at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. Meet more than 11,000 animals in over 50 exhibits as you explore sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Touch over 150 sharks in Shark Lagoon. Feed colorful birds in Lorikeet Forest. Touch sea jellies in the Arctic & Antarctic gallery, and explore environmental issues in the Ocean Science Center.

LEGOLAND® (Carlsbad, CA, 82.6 miles away)
Come play your part at LEGOLAND® California Resort. With more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, it’s an interactive, hands-on experience for families with children 2-12. And if you’ve ever dreamed of spending the night at LEGOLAND, The LEGOLAND® Hotel at the Resort opens Spring 2013. The resort is also home to the world’s first LEGOLAND® Water Park with slides and a lazy river where you can build your own LEGO® themed raft. Next-door is SEA LIFE™ Aquarium with undersea creatures, and interactive discovery zones.

Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA, 58.2 miles away)
Massive monster coasters. Awesome adventure rides. Fun family events. We're talking serious thrills at Magic Mountain where you can find cool rides and events for the whole family.

Contact Information
General Synod Registrar | 700 Prospect Ave. | Cleveland,Ohio 44115 | | synod@ucc.org