Who is the 3 to 5 Percent?

by Rev. J R Finney
Pastor, Covenant Community Church, Center Point, AL

My first General Synod has been very interesting to observe. Being the Southeast Conference Moderator and Board Chair means that I get voice but no vote. Therefore I get to watch the business of the Church from a unique perspective. The preaching has been off the charts good.

We’ve been challenged to be the church in meaningful and exciting new ways knowing that “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.” On of the highlights of the conference for me was the election of Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon as the executive minister of United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

And, of course, there are the business plenaries. As with most denominations, most of the business of the church is pretty mundane and so are the votes. But like most other churches, we get passionate about some of the resolutions and budget stuff. Yet with all that passion, the motions mostly pass with about a 95-97 percent vote.

Here is where I noticed an oddity that probably amuses only me. I’ve been stuck by the fact that no matter what the issue may be before the General Synod delegates, there is always 3 -5 percent that always vote against the motion or abstain. Who are these folks and why? Are they same folks each time? The reason this occurred to me is because when the voting operations were dysfunctional on the one vote, a voice vote was called and not one person voted no or abstained. Things that make you go hmmm……

Regardless of those 3 – 5 percent, it is a very enjoyable General Synod. I highly recommend attending the 32nd General Synod in Madison, Wisconsin in 2019.