At the end of a full year of open dialogue that engaged covenant partners across the full life of the denomination, the United Church of Christ Board affirmed a Purpose, Vision, and Mission statement for the denomination.
If you haven’t seen them yet, here they are:
To love our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.
United in Christ’s love, a just world for all.
United in Spirit, inspired by God’s grace we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.
How beautiful is this? Love and justice are clearly seen by us as our missional imperatives. These commitments of offering a redeeming, transformative love to all, and in that love working to establish a just peace for all: this fully expresses why it is we were called into being.
The United Church of Christ Board would like to invite every setting of the denomination to begin prayerfully discerning this: in your setting for ministry, how do you and your worship family live out their call to build a just world for all?
I have the privilege of witnessing week in and week out how our local churches fulfill this mission. Even before we had the language that captured our mission impulse, we were bearing witness to the power of love to change the world.
In recent weeks, I have seen this love in action…
- In a communion service held at the wall separating the US from Mexico where over 85 UCC members gathered from all across the country;
- On the Dakota lands where tribal leaders and pastors led young activists to the front lines at the Standing Rock reservation on horseback and gave them a sense of pride, purpose, and identity;
- In a 400 year old church in Barnstable MA where the worship space also serves as the town hall gathering place and a long time relationship with a sister church in Sri Lanka calls them to service a half a globe away;
- At Holy Covenant UCC in Charlotte NC where I met one of the couples that successfully challenged the state’s laws criminalizing clergy for performing same gender weddings;
- At the Samoan Church of Hawaii on the west shore of Oahu where every Sunday the faithful gather to sing their praises to the Creator;
- With a group of clergy in Vermont who spent three days in the early fall processing the manifestation and impact of white privilege and making deeper commitments to becoming allies for racial equity.
What an honor to serve in this way and to bear witness to our ongoing commitment to build a just world for all. We are truly united in spirit and inspired by grace, and therefore welcome all, love all and seek justice for all.
We are the United Church of Christ.
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer is the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.