United Church of Christ

Highlights of General Synod 2019 in Milwaukee “Shine”

The closing gavel came down on the 32nd General Synod of the United Church of Christ Tuesday evening, June 25. Over five days, delegates and visitors considered subjects from climate care to opioid addiction, came together for a series of worship events centered by charismatic women preachers, celebrated the ministries of departing leaders and marked the elections of two national executives.

Shine was the 2019 theme, based on Matthew 5:16: In the same way let your light shine before others … That was evident throughout the gathering in Milwaukee. Here are several of those significant moments — how the UCC began shaping a just world for all at General Synod 32:

Opening Worship
The UCC’s diversity was celebrated in languages, music, vestments and symbols during opening worship on Friday, June 21, which underscored Synod’s theme “Let your light shine before others.” In her sermon on Matthew 5: 13-16, the Rev. Kaji Spellman Douša, senior pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church (Disciples/UCC) in Manhattan, urged attendees to embrace their “saltiness” as they worked to shine their own lights and encourage the lights of others.

A Call to Shine
With the Shine theme fully illuminated during Sunday community worship, the preacher, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, echoed the call of Jesus to discipleship – a call to be changed through the work before us.

A Prayer Vigil at Planned Parenthood
In light of new state legislation and Trump administration policies restricting the reproductive rights of women, a group of UCC clergy and lay people traveled to a Milwaukee Planned Parenthood clinic after Synod worship on Sunday to join its staff in a service of blessing and solidarity. 

Officers Elected
The United Church of Christ reelected General Minister and President John Dorhauer and elected the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson as new Associate General Minister of Global Engagement on Monday, June 24.

Love of Creation
The General Synod became the first U.S. Christian body to endorse the Green New Deal, a congressional proposal that lays out a plan for tackling climate change. 

Migrant Justice
Hundreds of UCC clergy, delegates and Synod visitors put their faith in action on the streets of Milwaukee Monday afternoon, June 24, with a procession and rally outside the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office.
Evening worship on Monday embraced the migrant experience.

Dealing with Drug abuse
Delegates to General Synod called on local churches and conferences to recognize opioid addiction as a “health epidemic” and to partner with corporations, governments, and health care providers to find ways to address behaviors that can lead to addiction.

Closing Worship
The Rev. Amy Butler brought General Synod 2019 to a rousing close Tuesday night, June 25, urging worshipers to embrace the new future “dawning right ahead of you.” you.