News Briefs
October 2000

Authority of scripture to be website topic

UCC General Minister and President the Rev. John H. Thomas will lead a web forum on the authority of scripture Oct. 16-27.

The forum will be on the UCC website at Beginning Oct. 16, users should click on the "Discussion Forums" tab to join the conversation.

Thomas and the Rev. Frederick Trost, Wisconsin Conference Minister, will present papers at the annual Dunkirk, N.Y., Theological Colloquy on the theme, "What does it mean to 'take the Bible seriously?'" Both papers will be posted on the website's "Faith" page as a starting point for the web forum.

Laymembers and clergy are invited to participate.

Africa Partnership Sunday set

Sunday, Oct. 22, has been designated Africa Partnership Sunday by the Global Ministries Africa Office of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The theme for the day, UKAAMA (pronounced OO-KAH-MAH), the Shona (Zimbabwe) word for togetherness, is intended to help churches, particularly African-American churches, celebrate and learn about UCC and Disciples relationships in Africa.

A booklet, leader's guide and poster are available by calling 317-713-2552; e-mail:

Motorcyclists to the rescue

After 40 days on wheels, in Fairhaven, Mass., on Sept. 2 the Rev. Randy Leisey finished a 3,000- mile coast-to-coast bicycle trip to raise funds for a new church he serves in Murrieta, Calif. The trip took him through the northern states and the province of Ontario, Canada.

Leisey encountered some problems in Idaho when his bicycle went down and he was knocked unconscious. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet and avoided serious injury. Several motorcyclists, traveling to an annual motorcycle event in Sturgis, S.D,. assisted him, and Leisey was able to continue his journey.

Fact sheet available on AIDS crisis in Africa

Church World Service is introducing a four-page study/action resource about the African AIDS crisis. "Aids in Africa: A Generation at Risk" is a fact sheet detailing churches' and governments' efforts to respond to AIDS.

AIDS has ravaged the continent of Africa, leaving millions of orphans in its wake. Six thousand Africans die daily from AIDS, making it the worst infectious disease since the Plague.

The first fact sheet is free, $.20 each for additional copies. Send check to CWS, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. For bulk rates, call 800-297-1516.

Private prison building stopped on Indian lands

An ad hoc coalition has been formed in an attempt to prevent Hawaii from building private prisons on Indian lands. This began when the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma and the state of Hawaii were in talks to build a private prison.

The Rev. Rosemary Maxey protested on the mainland while Ronald S. Fujiyoshi and Samuel Kaleiki protested in Hawaii, effectively stopping negotiations for now. Hawaii may solicit other Indian nations to build prisons on their land. Meanwhile, Fujiyoshi, Kaleleiki and Maxey have received a grant from Justice and Witness Ministries in the UCC's national setting to produce information and educate the public. For information, contact Maxey at 918-656-3725.

Preaching seminar scheduled

National City Christian Church is hosting a preaching seminar May 7-10, 2001, in Washington, D.C. "Preaching Building Community and Community Building Preaching" will feature lectures by the Rev. James Forbes, senior minister of New York City's Riverside Church; author and speaker Ann Weems and Duke University Professor William Willimon. Paul Duke of the McAfee School of Theology and the Rev. Alvin Jackson, pastor of National City Christian Church, also will speak. For information: 800-866-8631 or email

Time running out

Six hundred congregations are still needed if the Accessible Congregations Campaign is going to reach its goal of 2,000 congregations in the year 2000 that will commit to removing barriers to a full life of faith for clergy, members and visitors who have disabilities. To date, more than 1,400 congregations have made that commitment. The campaign is aimed at helping people with disabilities to be full and active participants in their congregations.

Time is running out. To become part of the solution, visit the National Organization on Disability website at, or phone or e-mail Ginny Thornburgh or Lorraine Thal at the NOD Religion and Disability Program at 202-293-5960;

Search committee deadline near

The deadline for receipt of completed applications for the positions of General Minister and President, and Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries, is 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3. Nominations and self-applications may be sent to UCC Search Process, P.O. Box 391, Brookfield, MA 01506. For information and application forms, contact the Rev. Richard Sparrow, Associate Conference Minister in the Massachusetts Conference, at 508-853-3446.