The excitement was palpable at the Opening Worship of the United Church of Christ’s General Synod 34 in Indianapolis, as Jamar Doyle, President and CEO of UCC Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM), welcomed a crowd of close to 2,000.
He began with the question, “How good is it to meet in person?” to rousing applause. He continued, “We know that COVID has forced us to learn new ways to gather together, incorporate new technologies into our churches and into our ministries.”
Doyle started his sermon with a call to reflect on the meaning of the theme of this year’s General Synod, “Making All Things New,” taken from Isaiah 43.
“What we’re really talking about here is transformation,” said Doyle. “Transformation is about radical change through an intentional process that leads to action, radical, intentional action.”
He walked the crowd through the three steps of transformation, comparing the Church’s journey today with that of the nation of Israel as they escaped bondage in Egypt.
“Israel would not exist were it not for that divine action,” Doyle said. “So, the first step in making things new is to remember what God has done for us in the past, in our lives and in our ministries.”
Making things new
Particularly, Doyle called for the UCC to remember and look back on all the denominations that came together in 1957 to create this body, to unite in one ministry and faith.
He then reminded the crowd that, while they reflect on the miracles of the past, that’s when God says, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” He said this leads to step two in the transformational process of making things new: “It means releasing the burdens of the past to embrace God’s new work.”
ReadJuly 1, 2023 article and listen to Jamar Doyle’s opening words here.