“United in Spirit and inspired by God’s grace, we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.”
I saw the mission of the UCC being fulfilled throughout the 32nd General Synod: in the asking of permission of the native Ho-Chunk people to hold the Synod on their land, in the voted postponement of a scheduled plenary so leaders and delegates could march in a rally against family raids at the local ICE office, in the speaking out for safe and welcoming spaces for ALL, in the wide range of resolutions proposed and passed that have effects far beyond the Synod and the Church.
What I observed and experienced at my first General Synod affirmed for me that we are the United Church of Christ not only for our own sake or the sake of our beloved Church, but also for our neighbors of different ethnicities, languages, ages, orientations, faiths—in light of the world we live in.
On our isolated islands with our own set of problems, it’s easy to be out of touch with what’s happening with the rest of the world and difficult to know how to take action. Our Church helps us with that. On just about every issue that comes up in the news and more, the UCC has taken a stance, standing with the oppressed and the marginalized.
Sometimes I wonder if I love the UCC because it works toward “a just world for all” or if the reason I desire “a just world for all” is because I’m part of the UCC. It’s gotta be both.
I hope that more of us will have opportunities to experience the wider Church. Being part of the Hawai‘i delegation reminded me that our local churches are part of the Hawai‘i Conference, which is part of the United Church of Christ, which can only exist when we, as individuals, decide to show up, consciously choose to work together, and acknowledge the value in our unity.
O‘ahu Association; United Church of Christ—Judd Street Kristen is the Youth Director at Central Union Church and works part-time for the Hawai‘i Conference UCC. This was her first time attending General Synod.