DIVERSITY – Challenges and Opportunities

UCC folk have a nearly infinite range of opinions and convictions about everything.  Included on the list would be General Synod itself – our every-other-year denomination-wide gathering which convened on Friday, June 26 (in the past as you read, but in the future as I write).  Might GS have something to teach about the foundations of community?  To put it bluntly – what constitutes an adequate foundation for community that actually means something?


While it is certainly true that some kinds of communities find their organizing principle around rules (constitutions, statutes, behavioral expectations and so on), the United Church of Christ seeks to find its unity NOT in a set of rules, or social mores or even creeds.  Our center is found in Jesus Christ.  Our UPDATED rich podiumfoundation is found in relationship rather than in rules – relationship with God and with each other.  Admittedly, this is easier said than done, but certainly it is this to which we aspire.


At Synod we argued and fussed nearly endlessly – about Israel and Palestine, about mass incarceration, about our denominational rules and much more.  We didn’t presume to find our unity on the floor of a plenary business session, however – we found our unity when we set aside our differences and gathered at one font and one table to be awed by the love of God for all humankind and commit ourselves to the service of that God (and God’s creation) through his son, Jesus the Christ.


I don’t always much care for General Synod, but I DO value the opportunity to gather with fellow disciples with whom I agree and disagree and experience (again!) that we can disagree and still love God and each other.


This is a lesson the whole of the human family has yet to learn.  But this small experience of unity in diversity gives me hope that by God’s grace this small experience of unity and diversity can and WILL be expanded….and expanded….and expanded….until all God’s children are one.


Hmmmm….I’ve heard this before.  “That they may all be one.”  Yes indeed, it is this to which we aspire.


Thank you for sending me to General Synod and allowing me to get a tiny taste of the someday realm of God.


Come Lord Jesus.  Come!


In hope!


Rich Pleva
Conference Minister
UCC in Iowa

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