Education a major concern
In last month's article, "Thomas charts UCC course," we read, "Education has been a historic commitment of our New England Congregationalist forebears ..."
From the earliest days, education has been a major concern and emphasis in the Reformed Church: clergy were to be educated, several colleges were founded by Reformeds, some of the finest Sunday School material was published by them, and the Sunday School still holds a prime place in the Sabbath morn schedule—at a time separate from morning worship so that adults as well as children may attend.
The Rev. Paul N. Marsteller
He is frankly embarrassed
I believe all should feel welcome in our churches; persons should be affirmed. But when the UCC says that "open and affirming" means celebrating homosexual and bisexual lifestyles and affirming same-sex unions, and when both the recently-elected and recently-retired UCC presidents espoused these views in nationally-publicized and denomination-wide letters, I am disheartened and frankly embarrassed.
The "Welcoming Churches" article last month stated that "there are now 316 ONA (Open and Affirming) churches in the UCC." Does our denomination and its leadership truly represent the grassroots majority of the UCC when ONA churches number only 316 of some 6,000 total churches in the UCC?
Can an entire denomination's stance be based on these statistics? How "open and affirming" is this toward the other 5,700 churches?
The Rev. David A. Voll Sr. Pastor
St. John's UCC
ONA support widespread
The March issue noted that we now have 316 "Open and Affirming" churches. Let's also celebrate the many other ways the UCC supports ONA, including:
Many UCC bodies, most notably General Synods, have been making supportive statements since 1969.
Twelve UCC Conference annual meetings have taken ONA actions.
Numerous ONA Task Forces/Committees are at work in Conferences and Associations.
Many churches around the country currently are involved in the ONA study process. (My own congregation was the 300th church to vote to become Open and Affirming.)
Many UCC clergy and laity are involved in the struggle for justice and peace on behalf of our lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered sisters and brothers.
I believe that churches who declare themselves to be Open and Affirming at this time in history are standing on the edge of eternity, where God's love meets humankind, lives are transformed, families are healed, and the church is reconciled and renewed.
Jesse L. Cuilty
Shadow Rock Congregational UCC
‘Children are a gift'
In last month's article, "Women's reproductive rights under attack," the writer says that women should have the "right" to choose whether or not to keep or get rid of a baby.
This is completely contradictory to the Bible. Psalm 127:3 says, "Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from him." The Bible also says quite plainly, "Do not murder" in Exodus 20:13, to name a few. That means that murdering human beings, regardless of age, is wrong!
Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution says that everyone has a right to life. That includes babies who are very much alive inside the mother. No matter what name you call it (abortion or murder), it's still just as wrong in God's eyes. So saying abortion is OK is like calling God a liar.
St. Paul UCC
Women have a ‘choice'
I am not a "ban abortion" activist. I have never taken part in a march or demonstration. But I feel that a woman does, except in rape, have a "choice." Your article last month, "Women's reproductive rights under attack," was sure to offend and alienate many UCC members.
The sentence, "We, as members of a denomination that holds that women have a right to make decisions concerning their bodies in light of their relationship to God, ..." is laughable. I can't believe most, if any, women who have abortions have them in that "light." I will never leave the church I grew up in, but that sentence makes staying loyal to the UCC increasingly difficult.
My views are strictly my own. None of the "$40 million" (according to the article) spent on anti-abortion campaigns has ever influenced me or even reached me. But my Maker did instill in me a conscience.
Miriam E. Allen
Conservatives are here, too
In the March issue, the Rev. John Thomas is noted as desiring to have a church "that welcomes all into the household of God, seeking solutions to the world's problems together as God's people."
Unity in diversity in the church is certainly a noble and godly goal. I find it strange then to read slanted phrases and innuendo in the News that directly castigate one whole section of the UCC, namely conservatives.
I would encourage you to have the news written in such a way as to foster mutual participation, rather than alienation, of conservative UCC congregations which agree with the ideals of the Christian right.
The Rev. Daniel M. Krodel
Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church
Glen Rock, Pa.
Space is for peace
In November, 138 nations voted in the United Nations General Assembly to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty and its provision that space "shall be for peaceful purposes." Only the United States and Israel abstained. Underlying the treaty is this principle: "Outer space is the common heritage of human beings. It should be used entirely for peaceful purposes and for the economic, scientific and cultural development of all countries as well as the well-being of mankind. It must not be weaponized and become another arena of the arms race."
Contrast this statement with that of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Keith Hall, who says, "Space dominance—we have it, we like it and we're going to keep it."
Edwin L. Stickney, M.D.
Mayflower Congregational UCC