News Briefs
April 2000

 California Prop 22 passes

Last month California voters passed Proposition 22, the "The Protection of Family Initiative and the Defense of Marriage Initiative," by a substantial margin, 61-39 percent. The proposition's message was simple and direct: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The measure was supported by many Roman Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons and opposed by many mainline denominational leaders, including the UCC's two California Conference Ministers.

Odyssey Network to feature Disciples' Easter Special

The Resurrected Life: Understanding the Meaning of Easter, a one-hour documentary produced by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Office of Communication, will be shown on the Odyssey Network, Sunday, April 23, at 4 p.m. ET. Filled with artistic images of the Holy Land, soul-stirring music, and the wisdom of prominent spiritual teachers from various Christian traditions, the program is a feast for the mind, heart, and eyes.
      For additional information, visit the web at You can also purchase this video by calling 800-523-0226 ext. 433.

Earth Day resource is now available

An eight-page resource has been prepared to help you celebrate Earth Day Sunday, April 22. Containing bulletin inserts, worship materials and background information, it can be ordered from Environmental Justice Resources at 800-762-0968.
      The cost is $.75 per copy, $.20 each for twenty or more. The order number is EJ0035. The resource is also available without cost on the web at

Faith-based eco-justice group goes online

Web of Creation, an online site, offers a wealth of material for people and communities exploring economic justice issues from a faith-based perspective. Cosponsored by the Eco- Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and others, the site connects you with Christian, ecumenical and interfaith audiences and resources dealing with eco-justice worship, education and public ministry. Visit them at

UCC musicians to gather at Amherst College

Conference 2000, sponsored by the UCC Musicians Association, will be held July 16-18 on the campus of Amherst (Mass.) College.
      Daily workshops, worship, rehearsals and a Tuesday evening concert will be conducted in various settings, including local churches and the college chapel. On Tuesday, July 18, The Consort of Voices, directed by Richard Coffey, will perform.
      For conference information, contact John Stansell, Conference Director, P.O. Box 1350, Stratford, CT 06615; phone 203-637-1791; email

Congress on renewal ministries set for June

Focus Renewal Ministries, a UCC special interest group providing prayer, lay witness, discipleship training and ecumenical outreach, is extending an invitation for all members of the UCC to attend Celebrate Jesus 2000, to be held June 22-25 at the America's Center and TWA Dome in St. Louis.
      The congress, sponsored by the North American Renewal Service Committee, promises to bring together thousands of Christians for a powerful revival honoring the 2000th anniversary of Christ's birth.
      For information and registration, call the Celebrate Jesus 2000 office at 877/255-4463, or visit its website You can also learn more about Focus Renewal Ministries by phoning 610/754-6446.

Donate your eyeglasses

For many impoverished people in the world, a pair of eyeglasses would be an answer to their deepest prayers. You can help answer those prayers.
      The Boards for World and Homeland Ministries are sponsoring an eyeglass collection, "Eyes to See," for Interchurch Medical Assistance Inc., a nonprofit, private voluntary agency that procures and distributes medical supplies for overseas ministries. IMA receives numerous requests for children and adult eyeglasses, frames and lenses.
      Children, youth, families and local churches are invited to participate in the eyeglass collection.
      A grant from the UCC's One Great Hour of Sharing offering will cover the cost of overseas processing and shipping. You will be responsible only for collecting packing and the cost of shipping eyewear to a U.S. collection center.
      To request your Eyes to See information packet, along with educational and worship resources, contact Patricia J. Goldberg, United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115; 216/736-3799; e-mail:

Voucher plans fail test

A Florida court recently ruled that the state's voucher program, which began with the 1999-2000 school year, violates the Florida State constitution.
      The Florida decision marks the fifth failure of a voucher plan to survive a court challenge. The others are Maine, Vermont, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The only voucher program that has survived court challenge has been Wisconsin's, which is currently under investigation by the state.