Written by Bennett Guess
As UCC pastors across the nation prepare to preach on race on May 18, United Church News is offering its blog as a conversational sounding board for scriptural insights, sermon seeds and worship planning.
"We want this to be an online occasion for pastors to submit their thoughts, receive suggestions and provide feedback to others," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, the UCC's director of communications. "Although denominational resources are being developed, the best resourcing will take place when pastors engage and encourage one another."
Pastors are encouraged to submit blog post submissions to the Rev. Chuck Currie, editor of the United Church News Blog at firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to an anticipated high volume of correspondence, United Church News cannot guarantee that all submissions can or will be posted.
Already, some UCC pastors have preached on race in recent weeks, in the wake of the racially-charged media controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., senior minister of Trinity UCC in Chicago. Those sermons, as well as the ones to come, are being solicited for posting.
"I believe our blog can be a wonderful place for active conversation about the sermons our pastors will be preaching and the sacred conversation that will follow," Currie said. "I invite pastors to send their preparation reflections, as well as actual sermons, so that we might begin an online conversation about how the breadth of our pastors are speaking from their pulpits on race."
The United Church News Blog can be accessed at unitedchurchofchrist.blogspot.com
On April 3, the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president, called for a nationwide sacred conversation on race, beginning on May 18, when pastors are being encouraged to preach on the topic. On April 11, the UCC placed a full-page ad in USA Today inviting other faith communities to join the effort.
"We expect thoughtful, challenging words from our pastors on May 18," Thomas told United Church News. "But we don't expect the conversation to end there. Sacred conversations on not rushed conversations. Our churches will need time to develop mechanisms and processes whereby these honest, mature conversations can occur during the coming weeks, months and years."