The United Church of Christ General Synod convened in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday, June 26, and will adjourn on Tuesday, June 30th. The 27th synod is graced with 3,500 attendees. Here are a few highlights, so far.

Trinity UCC in Chicago made headlines last year as the home church of Barack Obama and fiery Pastor Jerome Wright. Pastor Wright has retired, but the church was represented by Pastor Otis Moss III who delivered an impassioned sermon to the gathered on Friday night.

God says I am the Alpha and the Omega, COMMA, who is, COMMA, and who was, COMMA, and who is to come, COMMA.

In a mind-jolting, three-minute recitation of the history of Christianity, Moss shouted a COMMA between each event, all the way through to the 1957 creation of the United Church of Christ and the presence of John Thomas as General Minister, who introduced him Friday night.

Don’t get angry with the haters, the Rush Limbaughs. Next time you hear them, just say, ‘COMMA!’ When you see Dick Cheney, just say, ‘COMMA!’ Remember, there used to be a period on Pennsylvania Avenue. At Calvary, death wanted to place a period, but Jesus got up on Sunday morning. ‘COMMA!’

Official actions of the synod will include the election of a General Minister and President of the UCC, Conversations on Race (a theme introduced by outgoing General Minister John Thomas within the last year) consisting of various workshops and discussion centers, seventy new UCC congregations were highlighted and celebrated, journalists Eugene Robinson and Ray Suarez addressed the assembled, all punctuated with commas, shouts, singing, and dancing.

Daily digests of synod happenings are available at the UCC website.

As the UCC General Assembly closes on the 30th, the Mennonite Convention 2009 convenes in Columbus, Ohio and will run through July 5th. The theme is “Breathe and be Filled,” and a Youtube video provides the anticipation.

Daily happenings can be followed at the Mennonite USA website.

Meanwhile, at the National Organization for Women (NOW) convention that adjourned a week ago, a new leadership slate was chosen. Terri O’Neill’s team, which takes office July 21, includes Bonnie Grabenhofer of Illinois as Executive Vice President, Erin Matson of Minnesota as Action Vice President, and Allendra Letsome of Maryland as Membership Vice President.

Finally, many ELCA congregations nationwide are answering the Presiding Bishop’s call for 50 days of prayer in anticipation of the Churchwide Assembly that will convene in Mpls on August 17th. The much anticipated assembly will deal with major resolutions regarding LGBT issues including gay clergy and same-gender marriage.

I plan to be present at the assembly to provide live-blogging updates.