Echoing a well-used phrase, the Rev. Traci Blackmon told a United Church of Christ Youth At Synod group Friday evening, “You are not the church of the future. You are the church of today.”

The diversity of the United Church of Christ was celebrated in languages, music, vestments, and symbols Friday, June 21, as General Synod 32 opened with worship underscoring the Synod’s theme “Let your light shine before others.”

As General Synod attendees checked into the registration area at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee on June 21, they were steered to “App-bassadors” to help them load the General Synod app on their phones if they had not done so before arrival.

Representatives of the Ho-Chunk American Indian nation welcomed the United Church of Christ’s national meeting to their people's ancestral homeland Friday, June 21, and heard UCC leaders confess the Church's historic sins in its treatment of native North Americans and others.

Of the many invitations delegates and visitors to the United Church of Christ General Synod received in advance of their meeting this week in Milwaukee, the most important may have been the invitation to give.

Rainbows of light emanating from a cross in the Amistad Chapel in Cleveland inspired a traveling minister of the arts to create a processional cross and a baptismal font that will be dedicated Friday afternoon, June 21, during opening worship at the 2019 General Synod in Milwaukee. Both are portable, luminous, and intended to be used for many Synods to come.

As setup got underway in Milwaukee on Thursday, June 20, for the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, you could see celebration and beauty mixing in unique ways with a religious urge to right the wrongs of the world and find new ways to talk about faith and each other.

The UCC National Ministries have found a way to be good stewards of missional dollars by saving money on their exhibit hall furniture at the General Synod, at the Wisconsin Center June 21-25. Instead of renting, several teams are buying couches, tables, rugs and other items and will donate them to a local organization that helps kids who have aged out of the foster care system.

If you are headed to the United Church of Christ's General Synod in Milwaukee June 21-25, you are encouraged to load the official app to your smartphone or tablet before you leave. Available now at, it already has plenty of information you'll want to know.

It won't be the first time Harold Beer has steered clear of fossil fuels on his way to a United Church of Christ General Synod. He biked to Synods twice. This time Beer and his wife, Marcia, UCC members from Michigan, will put in at Muskegon and sail their 27-floot sloop across Lake Michigan to to the 2019 Synod, meeting in Milwaukee June 21-25.

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