Although I enjoyed a slightly slower morning yesterday (Sunday), things started to pick up in the afternoon and—except for an all-too-short time for sleep last night—things have continued to move, even though most of the time I’m sitting.
Sunday afternoon’s community worship was a wonderful worship experience. The music was especially inspiring, with the last hymn a rousing organ-accompanied singing of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” It’s not among my favorite hymns, but I recognized that it was a good “shout out” to this year’s big Reformation anniversary.
When worship was over, I ran into a couple of old friends and we spent a few moments getting caught up. And, then I went off to get something to eat with a friend from my Div School days. I hadn’t seen or heard from Marie since we were at HDS together over twenty-five years ago. Her conference, where she is now the conference minister, is sitting at the table next to the Maine Conference. What an amazing moment to run into her!
After a lovely meal together, taking turns to offer summaries of all that each of us had done over the last twenty-five years, we returned to the convention center for the evening plenary.
The evening plenary featured several of the resolutions, an overview of financial status, amendments to the bylaws, and the election of the Rev. Traci Blackmon.
The resolutions were from Committees #1 (enhanced missionary support), #7 (immigrant welcoming), #5 (patterns of giving), and #2 (“rights of children living Israeli military occupation”). Most of the resolutions passed with little, or no, discussion. Committee #2 probably received the most discussion, overwhelmingly in favor but a couple of people suggesting that the information in the resolution was either dated or harmful to the work that is currently being done.
Plenary ended around 9:30.
Then, it was off to bed? Well, not exactly. A few of us decided to gather in the hotel bar for a little end of evening refreshment. When we arrived, it looked like most of the Synod delegates staying at the hotel had the very same idea. And, then even more followed.
Despite several attempts to extract myself, I ended up staying up quite late, engaged in an interesting conversation with some folks from the Nebraska Conference. We discovered a lot of common interests in the life of our churches, and the wider church to which we belong.
Finally, time for bed and about six hours to get some sleep before getting up for a 6:30 am caucus with the conferences in southern New England.
The alarm rang all too early, but I dragged myself out of bed and attended the caucus, which was a nice opportunity to gather with other New Englanders—all together, we are big! And, there was coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Plenary was called to order right at 8:00 am. And, this is where I am as I write.
So far, we have elected new members to the UCC Board of Directors, a Moderator for the next Synod and a new Vice Moderator, along with some not exciting bylaw amendments.
The first resolution of the day was Committee #15, supporting legislation for aid in dying—the committee to which I was assigned. This has been the most controversial issue, by far, that we have addressed so far. Lines formed at all of the microphones, for, against, and suggestions for changes or points of order. This amendment inspired considerable conversation and debate, and even exceeded the time allotment
In the end, the resolution did not pass. It required 66% support and received just 65%.
This is a good place to stop for now, a good place to break.
Let us make glad, despite the lack of sleep!