General Synod: The Last Day

The penultimate plenary session ended a bit early.  Yay!  A rare treat.

The morning was filled with the last bit of important business, with the last of the resolutions presented and voted on.

First up:  Committee 3

On Corporal Punishment of Children in Homes and Institutions

I was warned ahead of time, by the Maine Conference delegate who sat on this particular committee, that this resolution was not the “slam dunk” that it at first appeared to be.  Of course, we in the United Church of Christ are opposed to corporal punishment, aren’t we?  Well, it turned out to be a lot more complicated.

The presenter declared that while there was consensus that corporal punishment of children in institutions should be condemned, discipline in the home was a different matter entirely.  He spoke of his own experience and shared that he and is wife sometimes employ at home what might be described as corporal discipline.  He, his wife and their three sons live in the Philadelphia area.  They are African American.  This man and his wife sometimes use strong discipline in the raising of their sons because they live in a time and place where every time their children leave the home, they are in danger of not returning.  In a dangerous place, where danger comes from all places, including those whose job it is to protect, strong discipline is sometimes required to make sure that his sons understand the very serious situation in which they live.

For so early in the morning, this was a big wake up moment.  While I sometimes look at my own, white, teenage son and know that he does not face the same issues that other young men face, this morning was one of those times of finding myself needing to stand in someone else’s shoes and realizing that the view is very, very different from my own.

Given what the Committee presented, the resolution passed with 91% support.

Next:  Committee 12

Toward Disability Justice: A Call to the Church and Churches

This resolution presented a different sort of debate.  We found ourselves in the midst of something of a clash of generations, an older generation versus millennials.  I’ll say more about that in another post (since I have quite a lot to say).  In the end, the resolution passed, 98% in favor.

Next:  Committee 8

A More Just Economy: $15 Minimum Wage, Living Wages and Job Creation

This started as two separate resolutions, but ended up in one consolidated resolution.

A healthy, thoughtful debate ensued.  We talked about the desire that people be paid a living wage, while concerns were raised about the impact on small businesses.  These differing perspectives, as in the midst of other resolutions, were heard respectfully and thoughtfully.  A brave soul stood up to ask a very important question:  What about our churches?  It’s one thing to make demands of a living wage upon others, but what about our own churches, which are themselves places of employment?  Excellent point.  We should talk about this more.

78% voted in favor of the resolution.

And, then after a few announcements, we ended a bit early.  Time to recharge the batteries– not just for myself, but my devices.

More later!

About smaxreisert

I'm a United Church of Christ pastor serving the small, faithful Old South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Hallowell, Maine. I was ordained in Massachusetts in 1995, moved to Maine in 1997 and have served the Hallowell church since 2005.
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