July - August 2002
Boycott not reasonable
Recently the UCC Executive Council passed a resolution supporting the economic boycott in Cincinnati. The members of Faith UCC in Cincinnati strongly disagree.
We deplore and renounce the iniquities of all forms of economic and social injustice. We are a racially diverse congregation which has, individually and in concert with other UCC churches, labored for many years to eradicate the evils of injustice in our city. We have worked to eliminate hunger, illiteracy, domestic violence and discrimination. We have active prison and parish nurse ministries. We have supported missions throughout the city, the nation and the world.
Relying on our faith in God's redeeming love, we prayerfully look forward to a future when God's mercy and justice will bring peace and harmony to our world.
The current economic boycott is not a reasonable means of achieving racial accord in Cincinnati. We cannot support it.
Elizabeth C. Fiene, President
Note: See related story in this edition of United Church News. Ed.
Some came earlier
Joshua didn't topple the walls of Jericho all by himself and Bill Johnson didn't topple the walls barring ordination of homosexuals all by himself. Bill deserves credit for what he did. But so do those of us who unlocked doors of prejudice and ignorance towards homosexuals years before Bill appeared.
UCC people like Herman Reissig, William Gennk, Leon Dickinson, Clarence Colwell, Lew Maddocks, Elizabeth Johns, and myself risked our careers by identifying with the subject prior to Stonewall. In my 1960 book "Christ and the Homosexual," I called for ordination of homosexuals 12 years before Bill's ordination. In that award-winning book I suggested that parents of gays minister to other parents and proposed church-sanctioned one-gender marriages.
When you record historic moments for gay rights within the church, be more inclusive than what you wrote in the June issue.
The Rev. Robert W. Wood
Nothing to celebrate
The articles on the 30th anniversary of an openly gay man make it sound as though this action was favored by the entire UCC. I believe that the fact that less than 9 percent of UCC churches are Open and Affirming contradicts that premise. Second, given the potential inflammatory nature of the issue of the ordination of gays, why give it such high profile attention? Yes, we know gays are ordained in a few associations throughout the UCC. Some of us do not find that anything to celebrate.
The Rev. John C. Binkley
Hymns should celebrate God
This letter is in regards to the hymn-writing contest announced in the May issue. I acknowledge that, by definition, "hymn" could include affirming "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and to celebrate their gifts and ministries." I believe that there are gay, bisexual and transgender people with wonderful ministries that deserve to be celebrated. I must express, however, that I am a bit concerned about a contest that limits contestants to celebrate a people and not the God who created them.
Kathryn Elliott, Assoc. Lay Pastor
Salem (Heusler) UCC
Logo issue 'hard ball'
The more I read about the UCC's involvement in inane demonstrations focusing on the Cleveland Indians' mascot, the more I think that the folks at [the UCC Church House in Cleveland] ought to turn to more relevant church endeavors.
Some radical thinkers in our church administration have created a controversy that never existed. The picture in the United Church News with a couple of demonstrators outside Jacobs Field is contrived, indeed a manifestation of agitators who have nothing better to do with their time.
It's a long stretch to consider the Indians baseball team logo to be offensive. Ditto for the Atlanta Braves. This is silly activism that tries to play "hard ball" on a very soft non-issue that no one really cares about.
Liberal Jesus our model
Long ago I left the conservative denomination of my birth, one that had its roots in the right-wing of the Protestant Reformation. It felt good to leave that traditionalist church which seemed to worry more about the color of the carpets than about the suffering and dying war victims of our nation's foreign policy. After two years, I joined a UCC church that was refreshingly progressive, loving and amazingly non-punitive of fellow flawed followers of Jesus.
But now, sadly, I find similar debates here in the UCC about whether this denomination should be open and affirming of those fellow (flawed) Christians who happen to have found a loving same-gender life partner and a relationship safe from sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. Shouldn't the UCC model be that of the courageous, nonviolent, liberal Jesus interposing himself between the flawed woman and us unrepentent, pro-violence sinners who want to stone her?
Peace Church UCC
A lack of nerve
Political sponsorship of voucher programs represents a total abdication of support for the public schools.
Our inner city schools, for the most part, are a disaster. If we cared anything for the children living there, we would find the funds to make those schools as good as the ones in the suburbs. Instead, we offer vouchers for children to attend religious schools. If a significant number applied, the program would end because no one has the money to send all children to such schools and there are not enough private schools to begin meeting the needs.
So, with even less funds available for the public schools, the inner city education program continues to deteriorate while the president and others applaud themselves for caring about the needs of the poor.
The voucher system indicates a lack of nerve. We refuse to face up to the educational needs of poor people.
The Rev. James R. Smucker
Note: See story on page 7. Ed.
'Americans don't understand'
This is a good chance to tell you how important United Church News is. I look forward to it and read it from front to back and am constantly wanting to send something in writing to you. My world is so different and I often feel Americans don't really understand the reality of the United States' political domination in the Third World. American Christians must be reminded that all Christians over the world are brothers and sisters, and fairness is economical, political and social world wide.
The Rev. Barbara de Souza
Common Global Board Missionary
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil