United Black Christians 20th Convocation
"Lest we forget"
July 25-28, 2012
Full Registration Fee: $125
Includes The Amistad Tour, 2 lunches, 3 dinners, daily round-trip transportation from the hotel to various venues, to the airport on Saturday morning at the end of the Convocation*, registration bag and literature and more! A daily Registration Fee of $50 is also available.
• Amistad Tour
• History of the Black Church
• Powerful Preaching
• Joyful Music
• Engaging Bible Study
• Nurturing Fellowship
• Election & Installation of Officers… and more
Highlights and Schedule
UBC represents lay and clergy persons who faithfully minister in more than 278 predominately African American congregations of the United Church of Christ and those African American members in congregations that are not predominately African American.
UBC seeks to preserve our tradition as a people of faith and hope. UBC recognizes that it is the Black Church that has meant survival for African Americans on these shores. UBC affirms that it is the Black Church that will assure our continued growth, development, endurance and ultimate liberation.
UBC affirms that each of us has gifts to offer and is entitled to the full rights and privileges of the United Church of Christ.
"Remembering Our Way Into the Future" ~ Zechariah 8:4-8
United Black Christians (UBC) is an officially recognized special interest group of the United Church of Christ (UCC), providing voice and vision for more than 70,000 African Americans.
United Black Christians seeks to:
Provide voice for the African American members of the United Church of Christ
To strengthen Black churches in the UCC
To train and nurture leaders of our churches for Gospel inspired service to the Black community
To provide relevant ministry for our youth and young adults
To empower the laity for present day ministry
To create ecumenical and world wide partnership for service and evangelism
To be active advocates for liberation and racial justice at home and abroad.
To provide spiritual nurture for our members
To enhance clergy-lay ministry partnership
To provide support to African American Seminarians
National and Regional Intergenerational Leadership Development Events
Annual Anniversary Stewardship Campaign
General Synod Participation
And Much More...
Intergenerational Leadership Development
Intentional Seeding of UCC New Church Starts
Collaboration with the Council of Conference Ministers
Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Monitoring Affirmative Action in the UCC
Black Church Summit: Focus on Black Poverty
Local Church Development and Evangelism
The Good News
UBC provides intergenerational leadership in all settings of the United Church of Christ
UBC is a resource for local church ministry
UBC provides opportunities for seminarians, youth and young adults
United Black Christians
If you have hugs to spare, consider sponsoring a child through our Global Ministries Child Sponsorship Program, a global children's ministry of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For more than 40 years we have provided assistance to destitute children in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe. Currently, we have eleven centers participating and approximately 1000 children in the program.
What Child Sponsorship is...
Our program works closely with private centers that have long-established links with a UCC or Disciples global ministry partner. The program helps to provide basic meals, clothing, shelter and health care to children in orphanages and shelters for homeless children. In some cases partial school fees and uniforms are provided through support of sponsors.
Sponsorship fees range from $25 to $40. Sponsorship costs vary according to the services a center provides and the cost of living in that country. No funds are sent to government institutions or individuals. Sponsors receive a letter, with a brief biography and photo of their child. If the child is old enough to write, sponsors can expect a minimum of two letters a year, and/or periodic progress resports from the center's administrator.
For more information about our program, please contact:
Wider Church Ministries
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
Where are we? Who is in our neighborhood?
To begin, you need to spend 30 minutes exploring the neighborhood by foot or by car. Divide into small teams of two or three. Observe as much as you can. Take notes about what stands out to you.
Mapping. Post a piece of newsprint on the wall and begin to map your neighborhood or ministry target area. indicate significant landmarks, neighborhood boundaries, land divisions, land use, churches, schools, businesses, residences, services. Use demographic material to study and understand the people, economics, lifestyles and changes in your neighborhood.
Next, walk around several blocks in the city together, in groups of four people or less. Pray silently as you go. Ask the Holy Spirit to provide opportunities to meet people and for insights about what may be happening spiritually in the area. When you return, update your map and discuss what you learned. What did you notice most on your walk?
Learning about your city and neighborhood
Imagine a city expert in your meeting/ this person knows everything about this your city's economy, history, people and neighborhoods. What do you want to know? Develop three questions for this expert. Share your questions with each other. In your study time, develop a plan for learning about your city. Begin by brainstorming places and people to visit. Identify the questions you could pursue at each place. Review the list that you brainstormed. Draw a star by the people and places that seem most important and most feasible for your group to visit. Volunteer as individuals, pairs, or small groups to explore one of the identified people or places. Set a meeting time when you will debrief your experiences and tell the others what you have learned.
What is God's call for us in this place?
Discuss together the following questions in light of God's care for Jerusalem (Psalm 122, Isaiah 62:1-7,12). What does God's care for Jerusalem show about God's love for this city? What might God's realm look like in this city? What might be God's vision for this city?
Based on your interviews and experience of your neighborhood and city discuss and chart the following questions. Where have you seen hopelessness in this city? Where have you seen signs of hope? What's working? Which people, agencies, places, or policies are making positive contributions in this area? What's not working? Which people, places, buildings, behaviors, policies, or other issues are problems in the area? How can we be part of the solution? How can we connect with healthy people and institutions to make a positive difference?
How do we share the gospel?
Brainstorm together a list of ways to share the gospel, God's good news in your neighborhood. Use the e.word article "Eleven Commandments for Ordinary, Everyday Evangelists" to prepare and rehearse sharing your faith and invitation in your community with others.
Suggestions from Urban Disciples: A Beginner's Guide to Serving God in the City, Jenell Paris and Margot Eyring, Judson Press, 2000
Connecting with Your Neighbors and Community
"Congregations focused on ministry beyond current membership understand their neighborhoods. Virtually all congregations that focus on current members are not involved in the local neighborhood."* How well do you know the people around your congregation? This workshop will offer inspiration and examples for reaching out and meeting your neighbors.
*In Search of the Unchurched by Alan Klaas
Saturday, October 4th
Pittsburgh Area Churches
1. How well do you know your community and neighbors? Why care?
2. Evangelism—a Core Mission to Meet, Know and Reach Out to Others
Evangelism—Being and Sharing Good News (Evangel)
A Celtic Way of Evangelism
3. Congregations connecting with their Neighbors and Community
"It's All about Evangelism" Video
"Go Forth and Knock"
4. Preparing yourself and your congregation to be evangelists.
"Eleven Commandments for Everyday, Ordinary Evangelists"
5. Preparing your congregation to reach out to your community.
6. Resources, Responses, Questions
UCC Research Office http://ext.nazarene.org/m3/scr/ucc.exe
U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov
Percept Demographic PerceptNet.com
1. How well do you know your community and neighbors? Why care?
Welcome, good to be back, appreciate commitment and attentiveness glad for this chance to address churches connecting with comm. and neighbors
I know that Congregations focused on ministry beyond current membership understand their neighborhoods. Virtually all congregations that focus on current members are not involved in the local neighborhood."* How well do you know the people around your congregation? This workshop will offer inspiration and examples for reaching out and meeting your neighbors.
How well do you know your communities
Percept data test
Good to take test.
Many churches lost touch with community and neighbors
Communities have changed, members live other places
Pastor doesn't live in community
Communities have changed—unchurched
Churches out of touch with culture and people
Why care, Safe haven from world
The world that God's loves and Christ came and died for
Christ calls us to love God and neighbor
The church called to go forth into the world
Mission of outreach is at center of churches life
We have narrowed the focus of church to serving the existing congregation......But Christ calls us to look beyond the congregation to the world
Today's world for evangelism and outreach starts at front door and neighborhood
it is not some special function but it is the central to all we do and all our life together and all of us
So let's talk about evangelism and outreach, connecting to your community and neighbors
2. Evangelism—a Core Mission to Meet, Know and Reach Out
Evangelism—Being and Sharing Good News (Evangel)
So let's talk about evangelism.... What is it?
evangel is — good news
evangelism—of the good news, furtherance of the good news,Embodiment of the evangel
notice — Angel, messengers of good news
4. OK, what do you think of when you hear the word evangelism
what do you think of when you hear the word evangelism
What is your experience of evangelism
why has evangelism become the unspoken, feared, e.word
why the barriers to mainline churches to engaging in evangelism in 21st century
1. Fear of being obnoxious, becoming something we don't want to be
2. Fear of embarassment, being rejuected
3. Loss of enthusiasm for faith, Taking faith for granted
4. History of church being mainline, now sideline
5. Assuming everybody knows about faith
5. Church hasn't taught, encouraged, or spoken evangelism (Church growth, but not evangelism)
5. So what keeps you from being the evangelist you want to be
turn to one or two different people and tell each other why
6. Celtic christianity, how the UCC can reclaim evangelism
Roman and celtic
The book is The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West . . . Again by George Hunter III. In his book, George Hunter describes the difference between what he describes as the evangelism approach in Roman and Celtic Christianity. Celtic Christianity is the tradition of mission and ministry that was first developed by St. Patrick in Ireland and then journeyed into Scotland. Roman Christianity is the tradition of mission and ministry that was practiced by missionaries from Rome that sought to 'Christianize' the people of England.
"Bluntly stated, the Roman model for reaching people (who are "civilized" enough) is: (1) Present the Christian message; (2) Invite them to decide to believe in Christ and become Christians: and (3) If they decide positively, welcome them into the church and its fellowship. The Roman model seems very logical to us because most American evangelicals are scripted by it! We explain the gospel, they accept Christ, we welcome them into the church! Presentation, Decision, Assimilation. "
In contrast, this is the Celtic model for outreach: (1) you first establish community with people, or bring them into the fellowship of your community of faith. (2) within the embrace of community, you engage in conversation, ministry, prayer and worship. (3) As people discover their gifts and faith, you invite them to commit to discipleship.
The two models can be simply charted as such:
Ministry and Conversation
Belief, Invitation to Commitment
The Celtic model reflects the adage that for most people, 'Christianity is more caught than taught!' As Professor Robin Gill observes 'belonging comes before believing'. For this reason, evangelism is now about "helping people to belong so that they can believe."
Celtic christianity, it was community/relationally based
It relied on holy spirit, not coercion
put faith passionately not only in word but in deeds
It was culturally sensitive
Go to the people
live among them
learn from them
Start with what they know
build on what they have
3. Congregations connecting with their Neighbors and Community
Grace/First "walking the dog"
Knock, Knock —Susan Leo, Indianapolis
Rock Concerts, Bikers, Truck/Car stops,
4. Preparing yourself and your congregation to be evangelists.
"Eleven Commandments for Everyday, Ordinary Evangelists"
Walter B. Three constituencies for evangelism
1. Outsiders, Unchurched, Never churched, disaffected
2. Jaded insiders, Those who are in church and faith, but have loss their enthusiasm
3. New generations, Children becoming adults, insider and outside of faith communitythink about the how range, Relationship web
be intentional, Keep names before you, pray for them find opportunity to talk about faith, invite to community of faith
be ready for the unexpected, place yourself in world of spiritual seekers learn to do public witness, prayer, worship (Perhaps our own worlds are so churched, we are aware of unchurched, etc)
note: Be patient, but persistent, Gladys .....prayers, witness
people have the right to say no, or not respond remember it's just our work to plant the seed,
8. What do I say, I don't know, I'm not ready, let's practise
hand out 11 commandments
list questions about faith
think about everything you know about the basics of christian faith —like the statement of faith, the apostles creed, the bible, whatever. What is the most important thing about the christian faith? Turn to a neighbor and take just two minutes to tell that person what you think is the most important aspect of the christian faith and why.
Now let's talk about experience. What you know because of what you've experienced.
some some respond to the thinking/rational, others about the experiential/feeling it takes both
tell my own story, Nicaragua
take a minute to reflect on any one of these four questions, share with neighbor
1. What is it about your experience with jesus that the rest of the world can't live without?
2. Why do you need Jesus? ( what difference does knowing Jesus (God/holy spirit) make in your life
3. Tell about when you have experienced the presence or action of god in your life
4. What is an important bible passage or story for you?
(If there is time, do some role playing)
9. so now where are you on sharing your faith, how has this been Can you picture yourself, work of evangelist requires spiritual strength, work of heart take time to listen and prayer and studytakes intentional personal/community workdo a workshop in your own church, build community of evangelist
5. Preparing your congregation to reach out to your community.
You have to build community of evangelists, Also build understanding of community that you are reaching out to
not only word, but program that addresses needs, not only program, but word connect spirituality and service, Deed and word
Congregations with food bank
Pastor reaching out to trailer park
how do we get to know needs of community that we can address programatically and spiritually
6. Resources, Responses, Questions
Demographic information UCC Research Office http://ext.nazarene.org/m3/scr/ucc.exe
The Rev. Paul H. Sherry
United Church of Christ
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8.1)
In recent months we have witnessed the continuance of hate crimes against gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons, while in the church discussion about their civil rights and the appropriateness of their membership and ministry in the life of the church has intensified. Several denominations in the United States, as well as some churches and bishops around the world, have adopted or reaffirmed policies that exclude gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons from sharing fully in the ministry of the church. Other Christian leaders have harshly suggested that gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons have no place at all in the life of the church and that their human rights do not deserve the full measure of legal protection. In addition, some political leaders, usually claiming religious support, have vigorously opposed efforts to secure these very rights. Sometimes these anti-gay positions have been justified by flawed scientific understandings of the nature of homosexuality. Underlying many of these convictions is the assumption, frequently untested, that the Bible in general, and Christianity in particular, teach that homosexuality is a sin.
In my role as pastor to the United Church of Christ, and in this season of theological reflection on "The Inclusive Church," I offer this Pastoral Letter to remind all of us that the church is to be a place where all are welcomed, where the gifts of all are recognized and received, and where the rights of all are defended and promoted. When so many in our society would reject and exclude, it is critical that we of the United Church of Christ bear witness to the conviction that it is possible to be deeply faithful to the Bible, profoundly respectful of the historic faith of the church and of its sacraments, and at the same time support the full inclusion and participation of all God's children in the membership and ministry of the church. Likewise, there can be no compromise that all persons in this society must enjoy equal protection under the law.
I write in deep gratitude for the journey of discernment and action that the United Church of Christ has taken over the past several decades. For all our difficulties and challenges, I believe the United Church of Christ is uniquely equipped to take on this complex but crucial vocation both in the public arena and among our ecumenical partners. Informed by the actions of several General Synods, by Biblical and theological reflection, and above all by countless pastoral encounters with members of our church, I am convinced that there must be and will be no turning back from our commitment, especially in the face of the current prejudice and misunderstanding prevalent in both the church and the society.
Contrary to what some assume or allege, the conviction of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, along with the witness of many conferences, associations, and local churches, is not a superficial response to changing cultural norms or an easy reaction to certain social opinions. At their best, our commitments have grown out of a profound reflection on the meaning of our baptism and our participation in the sacrament of holy communion. Our commitments have grown as we have responded pastorally to the needs of many of our members and their families who have been the victims of prejudice or who have experienced rejection in the church.
We have been confronted and gifted by the presence in our church of gay, lesbian, and bisexual Christians who have been baptized in our sanctuaries, confirmed before our altars, and ordained by our associations. We have been confronted and gifted by men and women faithfully attentive to the Word, diligent in their sacramental life, forthright in their Christian witness and compassionate in their service. We have been confronted and gifted by parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, faithful members of our church, whose embrace by a loving God has enabled them to accept a gay, lesbian, or bisexual family member, and who yearn for that same loving embrace to be extended by the church to their child, their grandchild, their brother or sister, their parent. We have been confronted and gifted by faithful, mature, and able members who have experienced God's call to the ordained ministry of Word and Sacrament, who have sought and received the recognition and authorization of the church. We have been confronted and gifted by ordained men and women who have served faithfully and well for many years and who now wish to minister among us with renewed vitality openly affirming their same gender orientation. We have been confronted and gifted by gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons who have found love in the physical, emotional, and spiritual embrace of another, and are living in committed covenantal relationships of fidelity and trust which they yearn for the church to bless and the society to respect and protect. And we have been confronted and gifted by members of our church and those of other churches who have known the pain of rejection, the anguish of exclusion, and the fear of abuse, yet who remain faithful to their baptismal vows, seek to be fed at Christ's Table, and desire to be engaged in the mission of Christ's reconciling love in the world.
Confronted and gifted by these baptized persons, members of the United Church of Christ have been challenged to read the Bible again with new eyes and listen to the Holy Spirit with new ears. We have had to reexamine long held assumptions about those few passages of Scripture that appear to speak about homosexuality in the light of transforming interpretations from widely respected Bible scholars and teachers, and we have begun to recognize how our fears of those who are different, and our society's deeply entrenched bias against homosexual persons has often distorted and nearly silenced the Bible's liberating and inclusive voice. At the same time, encounters with hurting and excluded sisters and brothers have caused us to look to the whole of Scripture which speaks of a God who continually reaches out for those who are cast out for any reason, those who live at the margins of our lives. We have been reminded of our identity as disciples of the One who often ate with those rejected by the religious norms of the day, the One who sets before us all the Table of God's inclusive love, mercy, and grace.
In these encounters, we have remembered our own history, recalling ways we have been led to expand the church's welcome to others who have been excluded. We remembered the Amistad and the story of our forebears, both enslaved and free, who rejected Biblical interpretations that supported slavery and whose new appreciation for the Gospel's mandate led them to fight for freedom for all. We remembered Japanese Americans driven from their homes during the Second World War, and those of our churches who spoke out for their rights. We remembered many women who refused to submit to a misuse of the Bible that denied them places of leadership or that conspired in their abuse, and who found affirmation and encouragement in our churches, our colleges, and our seminaries. We remembered ancestors of our Hungarian sisters and brothers whose witness to the Reformed faith led to their persecution as galley slaves and martyrs, as well as those who fled oppression in 1956 to find safe haven among our churches. More recently we remembered our church's call for self-determination for Puerto Rican people, the championing of the rights of Chicano farm workers, the call for respect for the dignity of Native American people demeaned by caricature and stereotype, the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Hawaiians deprived of their land and culture, and solidarity with those who declared that the apartheid system erected and supported by other Bible reading Christians was idolatry, a denial of the very integrity of the church's confession. All of this has helped us discover that our church's concern for the rights and dignity of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people is not a break from our past, or a departure from Scripture, but is informed by our moments of greatest fidelity to the prophetic voice of the Bible and the Gospel's embrace for those who, with Christ, have been despised.
The encounters in our own church with each other over the subject of sexual orientation have not been easy and, for some, remain profoundly disturbing. We have experienced conflict; the covenants that bind us together have been tested. At times we have felt isolated from and misunderstood by some in the ecumenical community. But we have also experienced marvelous surprises:
- the growth and vitality of many local churches that have declared themselves open to and affirming of the gifts of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons;
- the gracious perseverance of The United Church Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns which, for twenty-six years, has been a prophetic presence in our church, clarifying concerns, challenging stereotypes, providing leaders for every setting of the church's life, gently and persistently changing hearts and minds, providing a refuge for those who have suffered wounds of prejudice and exclusion in church and society;
- the gratitude and encouragement of Christians in other churches who have found in our church's journey to new understandings a sign of hope amid discouragement;
- the growing self-esteem of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in our church who are able to worship in congregations that respect their full humanity, as well as the heterosexual youth in our churches who have found themselves called to confront the anti-gay prejudice so prevalent in their schools;
- the renewal that springs forth as we discover, again, that we are not trapped by the past but are part of a living tradition that is "reformed, yet always reforming," a people whose only comfort in life and in death is that they belong to Christ.
In these days we dare not be arrogant. The story of our pilgrimage with our gay, lesbian, and bisexual members at times has been marked by hesitation, fear, and frequent failures of nerve. At times prophetic voices, whether heard from inside or from outside the church, have been resisted. We have not always been properly respectful, or sought to understand with sincerity, those sisters and brothers among us who do not share our understanding or conviction or witness. At the same time, we have sometimes failed to recognize how the Bible has been used by some to perpetuate prejudice and to justify violence against homosexual persons.
But in these days we dare not be silent, either. I believe our voice among the churches and within our society is urgently needed, bearing witness to the belief that God cherishes all and dignifies all, and to our experience of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons as gifts of God, called with us by their baptism into the fullest participation in God's mission of reconciliation in the world. I am convinced this voice will have power insofar as it is a voice shaped by the language of faith and the experience of worship, a voice in which the liberating truth of the Bible can be heard, and the courageous spirit of the saints will be echoed. By that voice, I believe, our churches will be renewed. More importantly, in that voice, I believe, the lonely will be called to companionship, the frightened will find comfort, the abused will know safety, and those sisters and brothers in Christ who have lost hope will rediscover the blessing of their baptism: Child of God, disciple of Christ, member of Christ's Church.
The UCC Young Adult Ministries mission statement
We strive to be inclusive of the whole body of Christ in local churches, associations, conferences, and national entities.
The mission of Young Adult Ministries:
Affirm the unique gifts, talents, and ministries of young adults;
Provide opportunities through programs and resources for young adults to explore ways to integrate their faith in their lives and through their life transitions;
Develop young adult leadership and ministry trough resources and training programs to empower young adults and strengthen their commitment to the United Church of Christ;
Support existing models and create new models for ministries with young adults in higher education;
Work to deepen the multiracial multicultural richness and understanding within the United Church of Christ by supporting involvement of young adults from all racial/ethnic groups and acknowledging that differences are assets to ministry;
Work to ensure fair and adequate representation by young adults throughout the life of the United Church of Christ, including all boards, councils, and committees of the church;
Nurture leaders of young adult ministries through training, resources and creating environments of support;
Fully embrace young adults in our churches and in our communities, addressing their needs and issues through evangelism and a spirit of Christian fellowship, renewing and supporting the growth of the body of Christ.
Resolution: Reclaiming the Church's Ministry of Health and Healing
Health is harmony with self and others, the environment, and with God—a continuum of physical, social, psycological, and spiritual well-being. Health ministry is the promotion of healing and health as wholeness as a mission of a faith community to its members and the community it serves. Health partners are many, both paid and volunteer, laity and clergy, all are committed to sharing the compassionate love and grace of Jesus Christ through the health and healing ministries of the UCC.
The health minister/parish nurse serves as a member of the ministry team of the local church. The health minister (a person having a health care background that may or may not be a parish nurse) facilitates the promotion of health and healing via health educational programs, spiritual care, referrals to appropriate health care providers, as well as through support groups and personal health counseling. The parish nurse, a registered profesional nurse, promotes health and wholeness through the practice of nursing as defined by the nurse practice act in the jurisdiction in which he/she practices. Parish nurses function as health counselors, resource persons, spiritual caregivers, health educators, small group facilitators, and coordinators of health ministry volunteers.
WHEREAS, recognizing many illnesses and premature deaths may be prevented by lifestyle choices and belief systems, (i.e. diet, exercise, substance abuse, violence, and risk-taking behaviors), health ministers/parish nurses integrate current medical and behavioral knowledge with the belief and practices of a faith community to prevent illness and promote wholeness; and
WHEREAS, the UCC Statement of Health and Welfare (1985) states that, "Based on our understanding of Shalom—of God's intent for harmony and wholeness within creation—and on the examples of Jesus Christ's ministry which expressed God's intent through acts of love and justice, we must be committed as a church to a mission of Shalom and to a lifestyle compatible with that mission;" and
WHEREAS, essential elements of a health ministry/parish nursing program include (but are not limited to):
- a philosophy of health and wholeness as a part of the faith community's mission;
- a designated person or team to be concerned about health ministry;
- a commitment to continued learning regarding health and wellness issues;
- a process to develop and evaluate health and wholeness goals and objectives;
- health education and programming according to assessed health needs of the congregation;
- awareness of health and wellness celebrations designated in the UCC calendar; and
WHEREAS, General Synod Eighteen (June, 1985) adopted the "Mission Statement on Health and Welfare" which states that: It is clear that the whole church is involved in this mission (in health and welfare). Whether represented in local churches, associations, conferences, or national level bodies the whole church is itself the creation of God's compassionate mercy in Christ, and as such, the instrument of God's intention for all humankind. (II Corinthians 5:13-21); and
WHEREAS, good health is a part of God's intention for all people, health involves the whole person—body, mind, and spirit and healing and health care are valid ways of proclaiming the Gospel and ministering in the name of Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, the Gospel prolcaims that health is a relationship to God set forth in Baptism and Holy Communion in which God makes wholeness as the Divine Gift.
The wholeness ascribed by God as a gift recognizes that illness and disability exist, but the presence of these does not define the individual in the sight of God, or limit the ability of such individuals to be in a whole relationsihp with God; and
WHEREAS, the United Church of Christ recognizes that God calls certain of its members to various forms of ministry in and on behalf of the church for which ecclesiastical authorization is recognized by commissioning, licensing, and ordination; health ministers and parish nurses may feel called to one of these authorized ministries; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Twenty-first General Synod encourages local congregations to develop/include in their mission a commitment to health and wholeness, engage health and wholeness issues through an ongoing health cabinet/health ministry team, and consider the implementation of a health ministry/parish nurse program.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Twenty-first General Synod calls upon the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and Office of Church Life and Leadership, in conjunction with conferences, United Church of Christ seminaries, the Council on Health and Human Services Ministries and local congregations, to begin and/or continue to develop resources that support the development and enrichment of health ministry programs in local churches; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Twenty-first General Synod calls upon conferences and associations to:
1. Establish or designate a body to address health and human service issues confronting members and their communities; and
2. Recognize health ministry and parish nursing as a specialized ministry; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Twenty-first General Synod calls upon the Office of Church Life and Leadership to recognize and consider including health ministry/parish nursing in the listing of specific church-related ministries qualifying for commissioned ministry, and to consider developing guidelines and educational standards to be included in the United Church of Christ Manual on Ministry.
Subject to the availability of funds.
At the recent General Synod 25 in Atlanta, a resolution called, "Another World Is Possible: A Peace With Justice Movement in the United Church of Christ," was adopted by the Synod. This resolution lifts up and affirms previous actions of the General Synod which have given the UCC many of its distinctive justice identities, such as being a Just Peace Church.
On the occasion of this important anniversary, local churches are encouraged to offer prayers and times of reflection on the significance of the past sixty years, and to pray and offer witness for peace in the world and the elimination of all stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Another world is possible. It must be possible. A world void of nuclear weapons with their devastating and long lasting affects on the peoples of this world, and on the earth.
A Prayer of Remembrance
O God, tender and just,
the names of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
cut through our denial
that we are capable of destroying the earth
and all that dwell therein.
Forgive us -
and help us to always remember.
We must remember because this must never happen again.
We must remember because you would have us live
in harmony with each other,
seeing the joy of your creation in our
sisters and brothers.
Holy God, God of all the ages,
lead us from death to life,
to the stockpiling of hope, and of possibilities,
and of love
rather than the stockpiling of weapons, or stones to throw,
or of hate.
We pray for the healing of the earth and of its peoples,
especially for our sisters and brothers
upon whom a nuclear rain poured down.
Help us to imagine that another world is possible
and guide our actions towards the peace
you envision, the peace you have already given us.
In the name of the One who came so that we might have life,
and have it abundantly, we pray.
Written by Rev. Loey Powell
There are several activities you and your church might consider taking part in during this time. Organize a local Shadow Project in your community. This project uses the simple technique of drawing the outlines of persons with chalk on sidewalks to symbolize the hundreds of thousands of residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were vaporized in the blasts. Check out the website for the Shadow Project, or call them at 503-274-2720.
Many liturgical ideas and other resources which could be used on Sunday, July 31 or August 7, or at special services of remembrance during the week, are available from the United Methodists.
For more information on these actions, or on organizing a candlelight vigil on August 9 at your city hall, or for downloads of Days of Remembrance action postcards, visit the website of Waging Peace. (The National Council of Churches has endorsed these efforts.)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT)
Same Gender Loving (SGL) Ministries
Who ever you are, where ever you are on life's journey,You are welcome here!
Join the UCC LGBT Ministries Facebook page.
Subscribe to Called Out eNews.
Open and Affirming (ONA)
Open and Affirming is a journey of building inclusive churches and other ministry settings that welcome the full participation of LGBT people in the UCC's life and ministry.
Find an Open and Affirming UCC church
Please note: Many UCC congregations which may not have adopted an ONA covenant for various reasons are nevertheless welcoming and safe communities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians.
by United Church of Christ National Bodies
Since 1969 various national settings of the United Church of Christ have addressed the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in church and society, calling for welcome, inclusion and justice. On this page you will find a comprehensive list of the pronouncements, resolutions and other actions adopted by the General Synod, Executive Council and other UCC national bodies. You will also find links to the texts of these actions.
List of Actions
2011, "Supporting International Human Rights Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity", 28th General Synod
2011, "The Right of LGBT Parents to Adopt and Raise Children", 28th General Synod
2009, "Affirming Diversity/Multi-Cultural Education in the Public Schools", 27th General Synod
2005, "Equal Marriage Rights for All", 25th General Synod
2005, "Equal Marriage Rights for All", 25th General Synod with the background text.
2004, "Call to Action and Invitation to Dialogue on Marriage", Executive Council
2003, "Reaffirming the United Church of Christ's Denouncement of Violence Against Lesbian and Gay People and Calling for the Inclusion of Transgender people within that Anti-violence Statement", 24th General Synod
2003, "The United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America", 24th General Synod
1999, "Prevention of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth Suicide", 22nd General Synod
1999, "Affirming and Strengthening Marriage", 22nd General Synod
1998, "Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation", Executive Council
1997, "Fidelity and Integrity in all Covenanted Relationships", 21st General Synod
1996, "Equal Marriage Rights for Same-sex Couples", Directorate of the Office of Church in Society
1996, "Equal Marriage Rights for Same Gender Couples", Board of Directors of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries
1993, "Resolution Calling on the Church for Greater Leadership to End Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians", 19th General Synod
1993, "A Call to End the Ban against Gays and Lesbians in the Military", 19th General Synod
1991, "Resolution on Virginia Privacy Laws", 18th General Synod
1991, "Resolution on Affirming Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Persons and their Ministries", 18th General Synod
1989, "Resolution Deploring Violence against Lesbian and Gay People", 17th General Synod
1987, "Resolution on the Right to Privacy", 16th General Synod
1985, "Resolution Calling on United Church of Christ Congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming", 15th General Synod
1983, "Report of the Task Force for the Study of Human Sexuality", 14th General Synod
1983, "Resolution on the Institutionalized Homophobia within the United Church of Christ", 14th General Synod
1980, 81, "Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Revision", Executive Council
1977, "Recommendations in Regard to the Human Sexuality Study", 11th General Synod
1977, "Resolution Deploring the Violation of Civil Rights of Gay and Bisexual Persons", 11th General Synod
1975, "Resolution on Human Sexuality and the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Persons", 10th General Synod
1975, "A Pronouncement: Civil Liberties without Discrimination Related to Affectional or Sexual Preference", 10th General Synod
1973, "Human Sexuality and Ordination", Executive Council
1969, "Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law", Council for Christian Social Action
For more information:
You can't say the word transgender and people really know what you're talking about. But anybody who says the word transgender means something different by it anyway, so it really is a story and not just a label. - Malcolm
Call Me Malcolm is an amazing story of the human spirit and God's spirit, and the liberating struggle to realize and express with confidence the marvelous gift of one's truest sense of self. As Malcolm shares his own story and through the stories of others we meet, Call Me Malcolm offers us a glimpse into the real lives of real people who are transgender. But it is only a glimpse. There are many stories to be told and Malcolm helps us make connections to our own stories, encouraging us to share them. That can seem daunting in a culture which has done more to heap shame on persons who identify as transgender. The good news of Malcolm's story is the way in which shame and fear are overcome by grace, compassion and knowledge. Viewers cannot help but come to a deeper understanding of faith, love, and gender identity, and by doing so, arrive at a deeper understanding of their own journey.
Produced by the United Church of Christ and Filmworks, Inc.
To play video clips from the film, click here and then on "Clips" from the Call Me Malcolm home page menu bar.
Download Study Guides
For more information about the film: www.callmemalcolm.com