News Briefs
July - August 2000

Search committees named

Even though the five UCC Collegium officers were just installed, the initial terms of two of the five will expire next year. So, the Executive Council and the board of directors of Local Church Ministries have each named a search committee to seek, respectively, one candidate for General Minister and President and one person for Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries. (The two current officers, John H. Thomas and José A. Malayang, will be eligible for renomination.) The two persons selected by the search committees will be presented to General Synod 23, to be held in Kansas City, Mo., July 13-17, 2001, for call by election to full, four-year terms. Announcement of application procedures and the time line for the searches will be available in September in a letter to conference ministers and on the web site.

Gobledales return to U.S.

Shortly after last month's United Church News story about missionaries Tod and Ana Gobledale being in danger in Zimbabwe, the couple and their two children returned to the United States. "Violence was real," said Ana Gobledale. "I was scared." The Gobledale family will move to Cleveland, where Ana has begun work as the Local Church Relations Executive with the Common Global Ministries Board of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

New A.M.E. woman bishop is Pilgrim Press author

For 213 years, the African Methodist Episcopal Church has been fighting for the civil rights of blacks. Now it has taken a ground-breaking step in electing the Rev. Vashti McKenzie as its first woman bishop. McKenzie, pastor of Payne Memorial A.M.C. in Baltimore, is also a Pilgrim Press author. Her first book, "Not Without a Struggle: Leadership Development for African American Women in Ministry," outlines female leadership styles throughout history. Later this year Pilgrim Press will publish her second book, "Strength in the Struggle."

Dec. 1: World AIDS Day

The World AIDS Day Resource Booklet, with resources related to the theme of WAD, comes out Sept. 1. Call the American Association for World Health at 202-466-5883 for your free copy. UCC liturgical resources for WAD will be available on Oct. 16 from Wider Church Ministries. Call 216-736-3200.

ONA sermons sought

The Wider Church Ministries Office for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Concerns invites submissions of sermons for Vol. 2 of "Called Out! Open and Affirming Sermons" of the UCC. Sermons may address any aspect of Open and Affirming commitment. Submission implies permission to print. The deadline is Dec. 1.
      Send your submissions to Bill Johnson, WCM, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115; e-mail

Senate race is in one church

Christ Church UCC, Summit, N.J., will have a U.S. senator in its midst next year. Bob Franks, the Republican candidate, and Jon S. Corzine, his Democrat opponent, are both members of the 400-member congregation. Pastor Charles Rush says both men are active and faithful members of the church and were recently seen taking communion together.

23 local governments urge moratorium on executions

The Quixote Center, a faith-based, social justice center located in Hyattsville, Md., reports that 23 local governments, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and San Francisco, have urged a moratorium on executions. To date, 1,000 institutions, organizations and faith communities nationwide have called for a halt to executions. For a complete listing, call the Quixote Center at 301/699-0042, or visit its website at

Having trouble reaching the UCC's national offices?

Moves and structural changes that began July 1 are still in process at the UCC national offices in Cleveland. The 260-plus staff members are still unpacking boxes, establishing the new phone service, and reconfiguring computer and e-mail systems. Unfortunately, a few bugs remain. Most of the phone numbers have been changed, but the phones are working. Here are a few tips:
      Be patient if response time is a bit slow;
      Look up new phone numbers on the website at
      If you reach a non-working number, call 216/736-2100;
      When sending an e-mail, include your phone number, including area code, and the best times to reach you.
      Help the offices prioritize by stating whether or not your need is urgent.