The tale of a Minnesotan, living in Maine, Traveling to Tampa for the UCC General Synod 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Committee Assignment #8

(Written at 5:30 on July 1st, between plenary sessions)

Just came out of Plenary, which I'll speak to in a minute, but I want to catch you up a bit on the morning.

As I referenced in my last post, my committee assignment is #8: Reflection and Advocacy on Behalf of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This year, we are trying something new at Synod and starting out by having educational intensives so that all delegates will be prepared with knowledge pertaining to their resolution committee assignments before the discussion and voting begins. My committee will meet on Sunday morning to further discuss the Congo and this resolution and then vote, but for now we are all on the same page as to why this resolution was even created.

Our presenter was Eyambo Bokamba, a professor at the University of Illinois, who was born in the DRC and has continued to be an advocate for the Congolese people after his move to the United States in 1962.

For me, a lot of what Mr. Bokamba spoke about were things I was aware of, if not fully informed on. However, although his lecture was riddled with horrific and sobering facts and information, what it gave me that I didn't have before was hope.

I have a cousin who runs an NGO in the DRC (Working Villages International, if you're interested) and so DRC has been on my radar for a while and I have read a bit more about then perhaps your average American. Because of this, I was already aware of the rich natural resources they have that draw exploitation and violence to the region; and, honestly, I was full of cynicism and skepticism - "How will this resolution change anything? Aren't we just whining without taking any real action?"

But Mr. Bokamba spoke to this fear of inadequacy in pointing out that during Congo Week, in October, a letter writing campaign to our political leaders could have a significant impact - which struck me as true, since it wasn't till I arrived that I remembered how many of us there really are!

So, with that, I now feel prepared to address this committee assignment with an open heart, mind and spirit.

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