Thank you for your interest in General Synod resolutions! We are David Anderson and Kevin Peterson, General Synod staff to the resolution and committee process. Along with the entire national setting of the United Church of Christ we’re excited you will be part of the upcoming General Synod.
Some of the business that comes before General Synod is in the form of resolutions, and we are the folks designated to shepherd that process and assist you with a resolution you would like addressed. The parameters for resolutions are addressed here.
The Standing Rules state who may submit a resolution. Resolutions are most commonly submitted by a conference or association, but may also be submitted by:
Important Dates for Submitting a Resolution
If you would like to submit a resolution to General Synod we ask that you be in conversation with us as early as possible! Deadlines are as follows:
The purpose of the Review Team is to give your resolution the best chance of coming to Synod. The Review Team ensures your resolution is formatted correctly, does not have any polity conflicts, has not been addressed by the past two General Synods, and looks for any formatting or other minor errors. The Review Team is not a gatekeeper on the topic of resolutions. If the Review Team finds any issues you then have time to make edits and have the final resolution approved by the submitting body prior to the final deadline of January 2nd, 2023.
The most common edits required to resolutions are in the “be it resolved” clauses. Because of the UCC’s polity, the General Synod speaks “to, but not for” the UCC. Thus, resolutions may call upon, urge, affirm, support, invite, recommend, request, ask, and encourage various settings of the Church, but may not direct them. The only bodies a Synod resolution may direct are the UCC Board of Directors and the Covenanted Ministries of the National Setting: Local Church Ministries, Wider Church Ministries, and Justice and Witness Ministries. Another common edit requested is the addition of footnotes for any quotes and statistics cited in a resolution.
The format your resolution needs to follow is outlined on page 13 of the Standing Rules. Your resolution must include a title, summary, statement of biblical, theological, and historic grounding and the connection to the UCC, the text of the resolution, and some required boilerplate language at the end. A sample resolution is linked here.
Resolutions are reviewed by the General Synod Subcommittee on Disposition, which is comprised of members of the UCC Board of Directors. The Subcommittee on Disposition determines if your resolution is a prudential resolution (which requires a simple majority to be adopted at Synod) or a resolution of witness (which requires a two-thirds supermajority). The Subcommittee on Disposition also recommends a course of action for each resolution. Resolutions may be sent to a committee at Synod, referred to a plenary session of Synod, put in a consent agenda, sent directly to implementing bodies, or sent to the UCC Board of Directors themselves. The UCC Board of Directors affirms the suggested disposition of each resolution, and the General Synod may change the disposition suggested by the Board at its opening plenary before voting to adopt it.
If your resolution is referred to a General Synod committee you will need to provide a resource person to speak to it and answer questions during committee time. Furthermore, if your resolution is deemed a resolution of witness and calls upon local churches, associations, or conferences to consider some kind of action, you will be required to lead an Implementation Conversation, which is a brief workshop and networking opportunity at General Synod for anyone interested in the topic of your resolution. The expense and logistics of both of these requirements are borne by the submitters of the resolution.
To summarize, be sure to carefully read the Standing Rules and be in early and frequent communication with us through the whole process to ensure you meet all the requirements and deadlines.
Thank you for your participation in General Synod and the life of the United Church of Christ!
David Anderson and Kevin Peterson