Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday at General Synod

This afternoon in the plenary session of the General Synod, a resolution calling on us as churches of the UCC to address global warming was nearly unanimously passed. An interesting (at least to this vegetarian) was an effort to insert a call to encourage a movement toward a plant-based diet since, according to the one making the suggestion, animal agricultural efforts contribute 18% of greenhouse gases world-wide. The amendment was out of order for parliamentary reasons, so the will of the body was never determined.

During her candidate's speech , Edith Guffey (Associate General Minister) mentioned something that struck a chord with me. She pointed out that most members of the UCC don't know who the denominational officers are. This came home to me yesterday when one church member asked about who the people were that we pray for during our communion prayers and another, who attended the worship at Synod yesterday, said, “So THAT is John Thomas.” So whether you've met them or not, our leaders are busy serving the church and I can assure you that they appreciate our prayers.

Marian Wright Edelman, director of the Children's Defense Fund, continued the practice of delivering exceptionally inspirational keynote addresses at General Synod. She delivered an impassioned plea to work to make sure that Congress provide health care coverage for 9 million uninsured children in America. She pointed out that Congress voted to go to war in Iraq without first coming up with the money to so, and isn't providing health care to children more important? She ended with a prayer that included “Dear God, let us not confuse what is perfectly legal with what is right and just in your eyes. Amen.”

Ken Medema, an extremely talented musician, was charged with responding in song. He improvised a beautiful song incorporating words from the person who introduced her, “sometimes you have to stand up when you just want to sit down.” So he sang to Marian that we would all stand up and not sit down until the job is done. While he was singing, one by one people in the audience stood up. By the end of the song we were all standing, many wiping tears away. Marian was among the tearful as she ran back onto the stage to embrace Ken in thanks.

Filled with the inspiration of that moment I left the building to join in a march around the block in protest of the war. As I turned one corner I encountered our Associate Conference Minister, Peter Wells, standing on a wall staring down the marchers. He shouted “what do you want for your children?” Indeed, we all want peace.

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