United Church of Christ

UCC groups urge community dialogue after more acts of Black Lives Matter banner vandalism

United Church of Christ congregations and conferences, responding to backlash over posted Black Lives Matter banners, are using the hostile acts as inspiration for positive action in a search for common ground


Faithful and Welcoming Churches forge closer bond with Cleveland

To set the stage for greater visibility within the United Church of Christ, a group of 70 Faithful and Welcoming Churches are planning a presence at the upcoming General Synod this summer by working with the church’s national setting.


A Pastoral Letter on Racism: A New Awakening

The national leaders of the United Church of Christ have released a thoughtful reflection and call to action about racism in our country.


UCC executive Linda Jaramillo to retire in September

The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo’s passion for justice still burns brightly. But this fall, the national officer of the United Church of Christ and Portland, Ore., native will put that passion to work back home.


"Black Lives Matter" banners evoke hostility in New York communities

Two New York churches are subjected to hostility because of a bold proclamation which is interpreted as anti-police. See how Black Lives Matter banners touched a nerve, and what the congregations are doing about it.


Worship led by children as a foundation for faith formation

Children are the future. But United Church of Chapel Hill and the Faith Formation Team of the United Church of Christ are working to help make the gifts of children a contributing part of the congregation today. That's why the Faith Formation Team and United Church of Chapel Hill, in Chapel Hill, N.C., are partnering to share ways to use the gifts children bring to worship in an Inspiring Model of Ministry: And The Children Shall Lead Them on February 21-22, 2015. 


New Florida conference minister has high hopes

The Rev. John Vertigan has high hopes for the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. The greatest of those hopes for Vertigan, the incoming conference minister, is that the conference continues to embody a covenant of welcome, mutual respect, and engagement in the church and in society.


An Advent Call for Accountability

During an Advent gathering to envision the future of ministry in the 21st century, 140 leaders of the United Church of Christ released a letter to the church addressing the racism they see in cases in Ferguson, New York and Cleveland. A message of outrage this holy season calling for accountability and justice for all people.


Shadow Rock UCC offers sanctuary to Guatemalan immigrant

A routine traffic stop changed the life of Misael Perez (Eleazar Misael Perez Cabrera). A native of Guatemala who built a life for himself as a roofer in the Phoenix area, Perez--facing deportation after police pulled him over--has now been taken into sanctuary at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ.


Commentary: Every day is an anniversary

On July 20 last year, a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater during a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve moviegoers were killed, and over 50 were wounded. Yet another anniversary looms on the calendar – Aug. 5 marks the first anniversary of the shooting at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing 7 and wounding three. Even as we remember those who were killed and injured in these shootings, along with their families, a tragic litany of life lost as a result of gun violence comes to mind. Aurora and Oak Creek made headlines, but the painful truth is that every single day on the calendar is the anniversary of the terrible toll of gun violence, somewhere in America, whether or not it makes the nightly news.

We simply cannot accept gun violence as the norm in our nation. We cannot find comfort in saying "peace, peace," without committing to the hard work that makes for peace. Certainly, the larger context of gun violence is complex and multilayered, and no one piece of legislation can address it. It will take hard work on many levels, individual and institutional change on many fronts. But common sense gun violence prevention legislation can save lives. We must take every step, large and small, to keep our children, families and communities safe.

One small step is to institute a stronger system of background checks on gun purchases, a measure supported by an overwhelming majority of the American public, responsible gun owners among them. Yet our elected officials rejected this modest step forward. As people of faith, we are called to be the moral voice that prods our members of Congress and our state legislatures to summon the political courage needed to enact meaningful gun violence prevention policy.

The faith community has come together many times in the aftermath of gun tragedies over the years to urge legislators to pass laws that would help to prevent gun violence, and we will not falter in this critical work.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The time is always right to do what is right." Every day is the right day to take a step toward ending gun violence.

Prayer of Lamentation:

Gracious God, our Maker and Sustainer, we pause to remember those who were killed and wounded in the shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater one year ago, even as we remember the terrible toll that gun violence has taken since that time. We grieve the promising lives that have been lost, the stories that will no longer unfold, the voices that will no longer be heard, the friends and families left with heartache and a hole that cannot be filled. We hold in our hearts the communities impacted by gun violence that will never quite be the same. Even as we lament the scourge of gun violence and the culture of violence that seems to grip our society, we confess the ways in which we participate in that culture and fail to boldly give witness to your vision of abundant life and wholeness. Strengthen us in the will to do the things that make for peace. Grant us the courage and creative spirit to sow seeds of understanding, cooperation, community and connection. Help us to link hearts, minds and hands in transforming our collective grief into a message of hope.

Sandy Sorensen is the director of the UCC's Washington, D.C. office