Letters to the Editor
April 2003

Hope for tomorrow

We are often afraid of change, the unknown, the unfamiliar, the different.

We are often made afraid by TV and news headlines, imagined or real disastrous possibilities, our personal sorrows and frustrations.

Fear is invasive. It causes more damage than the attack on 9/11. "What if?" disquiets us, puts us on edge, saps our energy, strength, creativity, often leaving us depleted and sad.

Sometimes fear encourages a "Get them before they get us" mentality leading to prejudice, domination, violence and even war.

Hope is the antithesis to fear. Hope opens opportunities, expands horizons, encourages new relationships and adventures, and brings us a sense of purpose and peace.

We cannot ignore danger, and sometimes we are overwhelmed, hurt and afraid, even terrorized.

But we can seek the wisdom of the ages and "Fear not É" for the love of our creator has promised hope for tomorrow.

Hannah M. Rees
First UCC
Lombard, Ill.

A Lesson in History

Many well-intentioned, sincere people believe we could solve the problem with Iraq by sitting down and talking to Saddam. I remember when equally sincere and concerned people thought Hitler could be dealt with in the same way. Neville Chamberlain felt that way. He returned from his talks with the German dictator and announced, "Peace in our time!"

I wonder how different history might have been if the world community had stepped in to stop Hitler when he began to re-arm Germany. I believe we would have spared the six million Jews who died in Nazi gas chambers. And, we would not have those many cemeteries in Europe for the thousands of our young men whose graves are marked by a white cross or the Star of David.

One of the lessons of history is that if we do not learn the mistakes of history we are doomed to repeat them.

William E. Harner Jr.
Church of the Good Shepherd UCC
Boyertown, Pa.

Let's wish them peace

Today Matt Mathis visited me to say "goodbye" as he ships out on Tuesday with his Army Reserve Unit to the Middle East. Matt also served in Bosnia in 1996-1997. I gave him a very small New Testament and Psalms that I have carried around in my car to use in emergencies and signed a message in the front page. We hugged and I wished him peace.

Let us pray for Matt and all the young men and women like him who are at this point of embarking on a journey they have not known before. Let us pray for his wife, Melanie, and all the loved ones who remain here, away from one they love at a time of great distress and fear.

Let us pray that we who follow Jesus Christ will discern what roles God asks us to play in a time and circumstance such as this.

The Rev. David Loar
Fairlawn West UCC
Akron, Ohio

Motivation is clear

Today (Feb. 15) is the global action against war in regards to the intent and plan of the Bush Administration to attack Iraq. We, the Christians in Indonesia, partake in that movement. I am consolidating the Christian students and the church youth in Jakarta to go on to the street to express their protest against that possible military action against Iraq. Our motivation is clear: Christian faith teaches us to do whatever we can do against war, violence, and injustice. To my perception, the Christians in the USA and all over the world are on the same theological platform. Hope we can do something to prevent the war and can be successful.

Ishak Lambe'
General Secretary
Communion of Churches in Indonesia
Jakarta, Indonesia

Leaves Christ out

Switching from "Before Christ" to "Before the Common Era" certainly leaves Christ out of the equation, although the number of years still date, albeit erroneously, from the birth of Christ. Should this "offense" also be removed?

To be hesitant or ashamed to set forth Christ as King of Kings and Lord of time calls to mind Christ's own words, "For whoever is ashamed of me É in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father É" (Mark 8:38).

Very little is so offensive to me as when wimpish, lukewarm liberals retreat from Christian positions on every front for fear of offending outsiders. The whole thrust of Christian mission evaporates! (See Rev. 3:16.) If I, a moderate centrist, am so offended by such weak, pseudo-tolerance, how must Christ feel? One day we'll know!

The Rev. Rodney A. Henrie, Int.
Trinity UCC
Tulpehocken, Pa.

A bit of clarity

About the letter concerning turning down money from the "Eli Lilly Foundation," while I agree with its sentiment, the grants that various religious organizations, including the UCC, have received recently are grants from the "Lilly Endowment, Inc.," a private foundation established by members of the Lilly family in 1937, not the "Eli Lilly Foundation." The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation supports many things, but religion is not among them. You can check out what the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation does support at  www.lilly.com/about/community/foundation/cash/support.html.

The web site also says: "The Lilly Endowment was established in 1937 by members of the Lilly family as a vehicle by which to pursue their personal philanthropic interests. The Lilly Endowment is completely separate from Eli Lilly and Company and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and is independently managed."

And no, I don't work for either organization, I just like things clear.

The Rev. Bud Walther
Immanuel UCC
Crothersville, Ind.

Disproportionate burden

Thank you for the timely article on abortion and choice. The disproportionate burden on poor women and girls for the politics of abortion is an important issue for the Christian community to consider. Not only do women and girls in our country suffer when reproductive education and services are not available, but also girls and women around the world are exposed to increasing risks of AIDS and consequences of sexual violence. Thank you for reminding us about these issues.

Lois Stovall
Rockville United Church
Rockville, Md.

More than one reality

The article on Roe v. Wade demonstrates once again that we in the UCC are not always bent on uniting. The title of the article, "Roe v. Wade: Both sides believe in the sanctity of life," suggests a balanced view of the reproductive rights issue. Then comes the declaration: "Reality is this," followed by statements of the authors' version of reality.

I do not take issue with their right to express their opinions; it is in fact one the greatest strengths of the UCC. But to declare one's opinions as the only reality is one of the great weaknesses of some in positions of leadership in the UCC. They essentially have declared that one who disagrees with their positions does not live in reality.

Reality is this: Their statements reveal that there is fundamentalism on both ends of the liberal-conservative continuum, and neither kind promotes a uniting church.

The Rev. Robert Braman
First Congregational UCC
St. Joseph, Mich.

No longer feels isolated

A sincere thank you for United Church News. I look forward to each issue and as I read it I feel so enriched and connected.

In what seems to me to be a time when if one disagrees with the government or a conservative view, we tend to be excluded and our patriotism is questioned and worse, our faith.

I'm so thankful and proud to be a UCC member. After reading United Church News, I don't feel so excluded and isolated.

Nancy Knutson Huerkamp
Winchester, Tenn.

Send letters of fewer than 150 words to United Church News, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115; e-mail  goldere@ucc.org. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Comments may be posted to the online forums of United Church News at  ucc.org/discus/messages/18/18.html.