2021 General Synod Delegate Summary:
We started the year with the lockdown. I work in the healthcare field. We faced overnight changes and fear of what will happen. During difficult times, we found ways to keep upbeat with music and smiles even when masks hid them. Unfortunately, we lost patients to Covid-19. I never experienced this much fear in my life. Testing every week, even sometimes twice a week, opening a Covid Wing. It is overwhelming. Putting this emotion into words is impossible. And then came the day, I tested Positive for Covid-19. My heart sunk. Ten days in self isolation as well as mild symptoms. Have you ever eaten salad with no taste and no smell…. It is really strange. But through the darkest of times, there is hope. The vaccine came out and I cried tears of joy when I received my doses.
It was not just the year of Covid-19 for me. It was a year of self journey. I have been Pansexual for over twelve years, but in the closet to almost all of my family. I came out to my whole family as we began the new year of 2021. But there was more to this journey. My gender Identity was not sitting well with me. It felt like a piece of me was missing. Through resources and discussion with others in the community, I found who I was. And when I finally was able to tell others who I was, I felt my true self… My Best Self. I am Allison Summers. I am Pansexual and Demi-Girl. I use the pronouns She/They.
Now the reason we are here, General Synod 33. It looked a lot different than our usual Synod. General Synod 33 was originally scheduled to be at Kansas City. I was extremely excited to travel to KC to see friends and have a wonderful Synod. But as we know, General Synod 33
was moved to be virtual. No fellowship over BBQ, no coffee at 5:00 in the morning, no exploring the City with fellow delegates. After this year, it was a lot to take in. Unfortunately, being virtual didn’t make things easier. My work is understaffed and time off was hard to come by. I pieced my schedule together so I could be at most events. I made my Synod work space as close to as it would be on the floor of General Synod… Stress Balls, Coloring Books, and of course lots of snacks. There were many Resolutions which came to the floor. But I was more interested in the Bylaws. From General Synod 32, Resolution 12 was brought to the floor. This Resolution was about calling on the Board to revise Bylaws to include Non-Binary Gender Language. So in response, they brought forth revisions to the Bylaws to be more gender inclusive. Here is the link to read more about the Bylaw Changes. https://www.generalsynod.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.25.2021_Notice_UCC_Bylaws_Amendments.pdf.
I am hoping with changes in Bylaws, Gender Expression will shine in our home Churches. When I registered online for General Synod and had the option to express my gender, I felt Welcomed. And it was the first time using my gender and pronouns on paperwork. Usually other places have “female”, “Male” or “other.” To be called “other” felt not welcoming and I never checked that box. But to have an option to add mine, I felt more open to express my true self. But how can we be more open to Gender Expression? Be open to new pronouns and Gender Identities. It is like a rainbow and there are all sorts of colors. In paper work, include inclusive language like: Guardian instead of Mother/Father, a place to write in pronouns, and an option to write what name they want to be called by. I know it has been the year of changes, but this change can save someone’s life. And we accept all, no matter who they are and where they are on life’s journey.