Written by Emily Mullins
The New Year often brings change, and in 2014 that means the discontinuation of the United Church of Christ Calendar of Prayer (COP).
The resource will no longer be published beginning January 2014, as announced in a letter to users from two of the UCC's national officers, because COP -- a source of inspiration for many churches -- is being duplicated in other resources in a number of different ways.
Here is the text of the letter from the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of UCC Local Church Ministries, and the Rev. Jim Moos, executive minister of UCC Wider Church Ministries:
We are writing with news to let you know the Calendar of Prayer will be discontinued beginning January 2014. The Calendar of Prayer has been a significant source of inspiration for UCC churches for decades, so this change will be difficult for some. Change is hard. But we also recognize that there are other exciting, emerging methods for sharing stories that utilize many platforms and reach broader audiences, while better utilizing resources.
The Calendar of Prayer began in the 1930s and appeared first in the Annual Report of The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, a Wider Church Ministries predecessor body. It started as a list of dates with missionary names and mailing addresses. In 1989 the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries turned the list into a year-round calendar with stories about missionaries, local congregations, conferences, schools, partners, and the national and global settings of the church.
In the United Church of Christ, we continue this great tradition of prayer, storytelling, reflection, and learning online. Outlined below are some of the resources available to you individually and to your congregation.
The Global Ministries Update is emailed to subscribers each week and comes to your inbox with a story from a missionary, a prayer focus, news about global mission, and advocacy alerts.
Mission Moments are stories written weekly for congregations to use as Sunday bulletin inserts. We hope you will encourage your congregation to feature these. They include mission stories about conferences, associations, partners, and the national and global settings of the church.
The Stillspeaking Daily Devotional is written by UCC pastors and offers a reflection and prayer which is enjoyed by more than 50,000 subscribers each day. Please sign up to receive these inspiring daily emails.
We hope you will join us in these new ways as we continue to read, pray and reflect.