2019 General Synod Delegate Summary:

Stephen Stark

I was on Committee 3 which looked at the state of global forced migration.  We learned that global forced migration is new language that better articulates the state of people who have been forced from their homes, and countries rather than using the term refugees which has a much narrower scope of definition.  The broader term allows for the community to identify people who need our assistance for care but have not been granted the legal term refugee.  There are currently more than 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world.  This resolution affirms the stance of UCC to care for the needy, it calls on the UCC to pray, learn and actively engage in education on the subject of global forced migration and support those ministries that are working to care for the people affected by forced migration.  It urges members to advocate for the rights of all refugees and work on issues of economic justice, climate justice, and immigration justice which all contribute to forced migration.  The resolution calls for the US Administration and Congress to take the issue seriously on all levels.   

Summary of your General Synod experience.

General Synod 32, was my first experience of the United Church of Christ on a national level.  I enjoyed my time at General Synod, even though there was a lot to do in a short amount of time.  Reading all the resolutions beforehand still did not allow for a lot of time to digest what was debated on the floor of the synod before a vote.  At times it felt as if there were a lot of politics being played, issues that were tabled instead of debated, different rules for different committees and others.  In spite of all that, I found the most valuable times were those spent with peers and colleagues after the business meetings, where we would process and unwind from the emotions of the meetings.  As I know I will be a delegate again in 2021 in Kansas City, I know there is still a lot of work that the national body can do to lead us into a just world for all and l look forward to that time together to do some more work. 

Willingness to speak to local churches near you:   

I am willing to speak to any local church that wishes to know more about what happened at General Synod.  Rev. Stephen Stark – St. John UCC Manchester Mo. Associate pastor (can do some Sundays, but would need advanced notice.)