'A Salute to the United Church of Christ' is the subject of the latest blog post of Bishop John Shelby Spong, a retired bishop of the Episcopal Church, based in Newark, N.J. In the current entry on his website, A New Christianity for a New World, Spong, 81, praised the UCC for its mettle and thanked the denomination's leadership for its insight.
"Perhaps, I thought, this church can be the one Christian denomination that will inspire, bring about and participate in the necessary reformation required to break the Christian faith out of its dying patterns, [it's] no longer believable theological understandings and its medieval worship practices," Spong wrote.
Spong, an author of 22 books that have sold more than a million copies, visited four UCC churches in Wichita, Kan. (Plymouth UCC), Greely, Colo. (First Congregational UCC), Norman, Okla. (Mayflower UCC) and Hendersonville, N.C. (First Congregational UCC) and said afterward his "appreciation for this denomination soared."
Spong ended his blog with the following:
"These four churches I have described so briefly had several things in common. They each had a well-trained and well-educated senior pastor. Each was linked to a national denomination that encouraged them to press the edges. Each had drunk deeply of that denomination's courage in the public arena on the right side of the cultural issues of our day.
"If the United Church of Christ is represented locally by the churches I have encountered in Wichita, Greeley, Norman and Hendersonville, they must be doing something right.
"So to these churches and to the leadership of the National United Church of Christ, I first raise my hand in salute for your courage and your dedication. Second, I stand before you in awe for what you have meant in my life and in the life of Christianity itself. Third, I bow my head and my heart in thanksgiving for your witness to the Truth."
Read more of Spong's blog praising the UCC.