News Briefs
May 2001

Excellence in Teaching awards to be given

The UCC's Worship and Education Ministry will bestow the Excellence in Teaching Award to five UCC educators at General Synod 23 this summer in Kanses City, Mo. The honorees are Odessa Walker Hooker of Cincinnati, Ohio; M. Ann Molsberry of Grinnell, Iowa; James Perry of Dennis, Mass.; Jan Stanlea of Lake Oswego, Ore.; and Renia Strychaz of Tiburon, Calif.

Recipients are recognized for the critical importance they place on the teaching ministry of the UCC, for our church and society, and how they exemplify excellence in teaching through various settings throughout life.

Volunteers needed for Amistad

Applications are now being taken for volunteer positions aboard the freedom schooner Amistad—the "floating classroom" that made her maiden voyage last year.

Available positions include docent, bosun, lead deckhand, packager, and office administration, among others. All positions are full-time, seasonal (four-month appointments) and are available immediately. Call 860-536-6003 or e-mail if interested.

Prayer vigil held for schools in Honolulu

Nu'uanu Congregational UCC in Honolulu has resorted to prayer vigils in light of a strike by University of Hawaii professors and Honolulu public school teachers. About 13,000 K-12 public school teachers are locked in a salary dispute that is keeping 183,000 students out of school.

Musicians Network national workshop coming in August

The United Church of Christ Musicians Network 2001 National Workshop will be held Aug. 6-8 at the UCC's Church House in Cleveland.

To register, contact Kimberlee Nagy-Bublik at 216-736-3874 or e-mail her at Registration forms should be returned no later than June 1, 2001.

Church damage minimal from Seattle earthquake

Four UCC churches in Seattle reported earthquake damage to the UCC Insurance Board. Three—Richmond Beach Congregational UCC, First Samoan UCC and United Churches of Olympia—incurred foundation damage and cracks in the roofs and ceilings. Plymouth Congregational UCC suffered an estimated $350,000 in damages to its pipe organ.

"The churches that were damaged have earthquake coverage and are receiving payments for their claims," says Bill Johnson of the UCCIB.

Phone scam continues

A phone scam for money is continuing to harrass local churches in several denominations, including the UCC. A local church will receive a call from a man who sometimes claims to be Bill Johnson, a member of the UCC's Wider Church Ministries' staff. The caller will say that he needs money because of health, car or some other problem.

In a new wrinkle, the Rev. Joe Hoffman, pastor of First Congregational UCC in Asheville, N.C., received between 12 and 15 calls from the imposter, who threatened Hoffman for not complying with his demands for funds. At the urging of the UCC's national offices, Hoffman informed local police and filed an FBI report. The threat never materialized.

Ban on landmines urged

Representatives from 10 UCC churches participated in a three-day legislative action conference in Washington, D.C., in March to support bi-partisan efforts to end U.S. stockpiling and use of landmines. Sponsored by both the U.S. and International Campaigns to Ban Landmines, the conference urged the support of the Quinn-Evans-McGovern bill in the House (HR 948) and the Leahy Bill in the Senate (S479). The 1997 Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines has been signed by 139 nations and ratified by 111 of these. The United States and Cuba are the only western hemisphere countries that have not signed the Treaty.

Religious coalition opposes Bush tax cuts

The recently-formed Religious Community for Responsible Tax Policy Coalition released a statement in April saying that the size and magnitude of President Bush's proposed tax cuts "endangers the very programs that the majority of people in our country need and support."

The statement was signed by leaders from the American Baptist Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Central Conference of American Rabbis and the UCC, among others. The Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC General Minister and President, was one of the signatories.

Workman execution postponed

On March 30, 23 minutes before Philip Workman was scheduled to be executed in Nashville, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a state court should consider evidence that he is actually innocent. UCC minister, the Rev. Joe Ingle, Workman's spiritual advisor, says that the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeal has ordered the judge to postpone the hearing until the defense can assemble expert witnesses.

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