Toward the 21st Century: A Statement of Commitment

We, the United Church of Christ, look toward the twenty-first Century with anticipation. We trust God's promises. We are eager to respond to God's call. We believe that God does have more truth and light yet to break forth from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

A Church attentive to the Word

By God's grace, we will be an attentive church. We commit ourselves anew to listen for God's Word in Holy Scripture, in our rich heritage, in faithful witness, and in the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit so that we might discover God's way for us.

We are claimed in baptism as children of God, disciples of Christ, and members of Christ's church. Through sustained Biblical and theological reflection on the challenges, confusions. injustices, mercies and possibilities that confront us, we hope to discern baptism's claim so that we might be the faithful disciples these days require.

We want to remember whose we are. Therefore, we will be faithful in worship and study, attentive to the Word and nurtured at the Table. We will be a people of prayer.

We want to be faithful disciples. Therefore, we will relate our faith boldly to all of life's demands.

We want all people to know of God's gracious activity on our behalf. Therefore, we will share God's Good News so that God's way may be revealed, God's forgiveness received, and God's future affirmed.

A Church inclusive of all people

By God's grace, we will be an inclusive church. We commit ourselves to be a church for all people and, in Christ, we celebrate, affirm, and embrace the rich diversity of God's good creation.

We seek to be a fully inclusive community of faith, sharing bread and cup with all who see, in Christ, the way to our common future. We believe that God desires our oneness with all people, everywhere, and we long for the day when we may all be one.

We acknowledge that we are far less inclusive than we are called to be. Therefore, we will intentionally reach out into the world and lovingly invite all to Christ, and to participate fully in the ordering of our common life.

We acknowledge that we sometimes find it difficult to accept the gifts that others bring. Therefore, we will seek to be open to those gifts, affirm them, learn from them, and, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, be transformed by them.

We acknowledge that the world in which we live is far more diverse than we have hitherto imagined. We celebrate this rich diversity. Therefore, united in Christ, we will reach toward it in anticipation of God's reign.

A Church responsive to God's call

By God's grace, we will be a responsive church. We commit ourselves to be a church of justice and mercy and peace so that lives may be renewed, spirits revived, and worlds transformed.

So many of God's people suffer. So many are maltreated. God's good earth cries out in pain. Our world needs those who will pursue justice, show mercy, and seek peace. That is the church we hear God calling us to be. We want "to join oppressed and troubled people in the struggle for liberation . . . and to work for justice, healing, and wholeness of life." [Quote from the UCC Statement of Mission]

We envision a world wherein "justice will flow down like mighty waters." Therefore, we will stand alongside those who hurt so that the hungry may be fed, the excluded embraced, and the creation renewed.

We envision a world wherein mercy reigns. Therefore, we will heal the sick, encourage the weary, and support the dying.

We envision a world of peace for all people, everywhere. Therefore, we will be peacemakers so that hostilities and hatreds may cease and love, mercy, and justice prevail.

A Church supportive of one another

By God's grace, we will be a supportive church. We commit ourselves to strengthen Christ's body through renewed resolve and mutual support in our common ministries.

In the immediate days ahead, our servant church will face days of challenge. We will need dedicated pastors and teachers. We will need vibrant congregations. Only a people who share a common vision, who support each other whatever the cost, and who are committed, together, to strengthen Christ's Church for ministry will be equal to the task. We want to be that church.

We believe that a vital church is a covenantal church. Therefore, we will be supportive of each other and accountable to each other.

We believe that a vital church is a sacrificial church. Therefore, we will give sacrificially of our resources so that Christ's Church may be strengthened and God's people served.

We believe that a vital church is a "united and uniting church." Therefore, we will seek to embody the oneness of Christ's church through ecumenical commitment, witness, and ministries in Christ's name.

About this testimony

In 1993, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted this "Statement of Commitment" as the starting point for four "seasons" of churchwide theological reflection on the future of our community of faith as we enter the 21st century. The statement underscores that the UCC seeks to be a church where all people—including those historically excluded by the Christian community—can find a home.

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