UCC leaders to join Unitarian leaders in Arizona justice march as Supreme Court ruling on immigration bill expected

UCC leaders to join Unitarian leaders in Arizona justice march as Supreme Court ruling on immigration bill expected

June 19, 2012
Written by Connie Larkman

Meeting for the second time in six months, leaders of the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will convene June 23-28 during the UUA's General Assembly in Phoenix, which focuses on justice issues.

"On June 23, we will be marching in solidarity with Arizona immigrant, activist, and faith communities to call attention to the injustice of Arizona's anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070," said the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, the UCC's executive minister for Justice and Witness Ministries.

Jaramillo noted the potential irony of the timing of the UCC leaders' visit: The U.S. Supreme Court likely will issue a decision on the constitutionality of SB 1070 this week. Members of both churches were arrested together last year in Arizona during immigration-bill protests.

"That landmark decision will certainly impact the actions of the UUA Justice General Assembly," said Jaramillo, who will be accompanied to Phoenix by the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, the UCC's general minister and president, and the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, the UCC's minister for ecumenical and interfaith relations.

Said Thompson, "The trip to Phoenix is a part of the UCC commitment to pursue how the UCC and the UUA can be intentional in working together around justice issues. The idea for UCC participation in Phoenix came out of our initial meeting in February, where it was hoped that there could be some UCC involvement with the UUA around their General Assembly."

Also on June 23, Black is scheduled to address a plenary session and later take part in a public-witness event at a Tent City jail, beginning at 7 p.m. In addition, Black is to be part of the 9 a.m. worship service on June 24. (http://www.uua.org/documents/gaoffice/preliminaryprogram.pdf)

Leaders from the two denominations held a first-ever, face-to-face meeting Feb. 7 at the UCC's Church House in Cleveland. Eight UCC representatives welcomed four guests from UUA national headquarters in Boston to discuss theological commonality and structural, operational differences alike. Representatives from both churches are working together to schedule another meeting later this year at UUA headquarters in Boston.

The UUA comprises more than 1,000 congregations, 200,000-plus members and at least 800 ministers. According to its website the UUA welcomes people with diverse beliefs. Individual Unitarian Universalists may identify with and draw inspiration from a variety of religious or philosophical traditions, including atheism/agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity and paganism.

Learn more about the UCC's interfaith and ecumenical partnerships.

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Connie N. Larkman
Managing Editor & News Director
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115