On the Journey . . .
Rev. Dr. Bob Gross OCC
Greetings from General Synod!
I'm writing this in Milwaukee as I'm serving as a Coordinator for the Floor Stewards at the UCC's 32nd General Synod.
General Synod is the biennial meeting of the United Church of Christ. It's five days of community building, learning, worship and business. I'm writing this as Synod is beginning two days of mostly business.
I hope that the pictures will give, those of you who have not logged on to the live streaming. a sense of the gathering.
Our time together began with a greeting and welcoming from representatives from the Ho Chunk nation, on whose land we stand. Their presence has been a thread through our worship with drummers and dancers from the American Indian school in Milwaukee.
Dr. Matthew Desmond, author of "Evicted," was an outstanding keynote speaker. He told stories of evicted families here in Milwaukee, gave background statistics and provided ideas on how we can make progress on the issue. If you'd like to know more, check out justshelter.org.
Throughout our business sessions we have been blessed by the artistry of Tia Richardson who was painting as we met. Her painting shown here, prior to completion, is titled "Everything Can Find Liberation Through Love." You can find out more about her work at cosmic-butterfly.com.
There were over 4,000 persons, plus those live-streaming, in worship on Sunday afternoon where the Rev. Traci Blackmon was the preacher. Blackmon told those of us gathered "Jesus is not calling us to action so our names are in lights or so others can be depressed." "the call of Jesus, the call of discipleship, is to something much more dangerous than that, something much more risky than that, something more challenging than that, something much more transformative than that," she said. "The call to discipleship is a call to be changed. The call is to show up and do the work. And before you think I'm talking about the work out there - the reason we're having so much trouble with the work out there is because we haven't done the work in here," she said.
"We, my friends must do the inside work, our heart work, our head work, our soul work, that heals both internal and external pain . . . We are not mere activists; we are disciples of Jesus the Christ."
Our Sunday ended with a Street Fest in Ziedler Union Park, where there were food trucks and a band that played everything from Polkas to Pop.
Now it's time for me to get back to the business. We will, hopefully, elect Rev. Dr, John Dorhauer to a second term as General Minister and President, and so much more.