News Briefs
September 2000

 Jazz and the Church

If you are a jazz buff, mark your calendar for Oct. 8-10 for athe first in a series of Faith and Arts presentations on jazz.
      Stony Point Center in New York state is sponsoring this inaugural event featuring such topics as Faith in a New Key: Jazz and Christian Faith in Conversation, the Care and Nurture of Creative Musicians in the Church, Presenting Jazz to the Church, Dave Brubeck as interpreter of Scripture, and John Coltrane and "A Love Supreme."
      The gathering is designed to show how jazz speaks to us and for us in the presence of God. Everyone is welcome. Jazz musicians who attend are encouraged to bring their instruments. For more information, write Stony Point Center, 17 Crickettown Rd., Stony Point, NY 10980; 800-253-4285 or 914-786-5674.

21 church educators certified

Twenty-one ordained and lay educators from 17 conferences were certified this year as church educators in the United Church of Christ. Several received their initial certification; one has been certified since 1975; two others have been certified for 15 or more years.
      This is the 37th year the UCC has offered professional certification in Christian education. Certification was granted to local church ministers, lay educators, conference and national staff, and consultants.

Project Vote Smart: Get the FACTS, not the rhetoric

Still undecided about whom to vote for in November? Don't be misled or confused about the issues or candidates.
      Project Vote Smart is a non-partisan, nonprofit voter information organization that provides, through a voter defense manual and vote smart web yellow pages, relevant and factual information about presidential, congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates.
      Information provided includes the candidate's positions on campaign issues, legislator's voting records, campaign finance information, performance evaluations and biographical data.
      Order your Project Vote Smart Voter Defense Manual and Vote Smart Yellow Pages by calling toll free 888-868-3762; on the web

Don't engage in politics if you're tax exempt

The Internal Revenue Service has issued an election year warning to churches. Under no circumstances are churches and other tax-exempt organizations allowed to engage in political activities that encourage support for, or opposition to, any candidate.
      According to the IRS, "churches cannot endorse candidates, make donations, engage in fund raising, distribute statements or become involved in any other activities that may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate."
      "The IRS statement provides an important reminder that religion and partisan politics just don't mix," says the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans for Separation of Church and State. "Churches that ignore the IRS's advice and engage in partisan politicking are playing with fire."
      For more information, check out the IRS website at

UCC retirement foundation gets HUD award

In August, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) completed its first-ever, nationwide inspection of all 29,000 HUD-assisted multifamily housing complexes. It culminated by honoring the 1,000 properties that passed inspection with highest scores. Among the honorees were 15 Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) complexes in California, Indiana, Oregon and Puerto Rico.
      RHF was formed in 1961 by two California UCC clergymen and one layman. Headquartered in Long Beach Calif., it is one of the nation's largest nonprofit sponsors and managers of affordable housing and services for seniors, low income families and persons with disabilities. More than 14,000 people live in 132 RHF facilities nationwide, many of which are HUD financed.

Sudanese church joins UCC

The Sudan Unity Calvary Conference in Sioux Falls, S.D., has joined the UCC's South Dakota Conference. The church has 34 adult members and 36 children. It has been meeting as a church since 1994.
      Fleeing the Sudan for their lives because of the persecution of Christians by Muslims, the church members arrived in the United States seeking religious freedom. Some members are in seminary and hope to return home.

Solidarity Day against Navy bombing of Vieques to be held

A National Solidarity Day for the People of Vieques, Puerto Rico, will be held at noon on Sept. 22 in front of The White House in Washington, D.C. The event is geared toward drawing attention to the destruction and loss of life caused by the U.S. Navy's continued use of Vieques for bombing exercises.
      For more information, contact Candita Mattos, 216-736-2193 or e-mail,


The William R. Johnson Scholarship Fund will support openly gay/lesbian/bisexual and transgen-der persons "in care" of UCC Associations and studying in M.Div. programs toward full-time ministry in the UCC.

Dying in America on PBS

From Sunday through Wednesday nights, Sept. 10-13, PBS will premier a four-part series, "On Our Own Terms: Bill Moyers on Dying." The series will present the intimate, end-of-life journeys of more than a dozen individuals, their families and caregivers as they struggle to balance medical intervention with comfort and dignity at the end of life.
      "There is a growing realization that something has gone wrong, and that the time has come to fix it," says Moyers. "The stories of these generous people, who let us into their lives at an extraordinary vulnerable time, help us to understand dying not as a failure of medicine, but as a natural part of life."
      The show is scheduled to air consecutive nights from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

Assisted suicide document available

The National Council of Churches Committee on Disabilities has issued a 20-page study document, "Assisted Suicide and the Quality of Life of Persons with Disabilities." It provides information about the issue of assisted suicide and the danger it poses for persons with disabilities. It is not intended as a National Council policy statement.
      The document is available from the Rev. Rosalie Norman-McNaney, American Baptist Churches, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; 610-768-2411; e-mail It also is available on the Web at

Health Care Justice Week coming in October

Health Care Justice Week, emphasizing support for a national guarantee of health care for all, takes place Oct. 13-22. Sponsored by the Universal Health Care Campaign (U2K), the week's goals are to encourage candidates for public office to be accountable for quality, affordable health care for all, and to make the public aware of health care injustices via participation in Health Care Justice Week activities.
      Groups or individuals wishing to participate can sponsor candidate forums, town hall meetings, worship services, rallies, health fair displays, and letter-writing or phone-call campaigns to members of Congress. Activities from your organization/city can be posted on the U2K website and listed in printed material, spotlighting your event. Contact: U2K Campaign, 2800 Euclid Ave., Suite 520, Cleveland OH 44115; 216-902-5577.

Cleveland Mayor condemns Wahoo

Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White has denounced Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians' logo, as a racist caricature and has proposed stripping it from all city-owned property. Even the possibility of the city condemning Chief Wahoo drew praise from UCC and Native American leaders, who have protested the name and the logo for years. The baseball team has used the logo since 1948.

Mission Fest 2001

Next summer's UCC/Disciples General Synod/Assembly will feature MissionFest 2001 on Saturday, July 14, from 2-5 p.m. At the event, congregations can use displays and demonstrations to tell the story of their mission and ministry. The deadline for registration is Nov. 15. For information, contact the Rev. Leah Matthews, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH, 44115-1100; 216-736-3842; e-mail

Reformed Church limits UCC relationships

At its General Synod in June, the Reformed Church in America voted that "the RCA will not intentionally pursue a closer ecumenical relationship with the UCC beyond that which exists through common membership in councils of churches (WCC, NCCC, WARC) and currently existing cooperative engagements between the RCA and the UCC for the purposes of ministry and mission."
      This does not alter the RCA's commitment to the Formula of Agreement voted by all four denominations in 1997. A clause in the recommendation reaffirmed that "cooperation between RCA pastors and churches and UCC pastors and churches is a local matter." The recommendation resulted from differences in biblical interpretation and issues regarding gay and lesbian persons.

Oppose death penalty

Amnesty International is sponsoring a National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty, Oct. 28-29. The purpose of the weekend is to allow individuals and communities of faith across the country time to reflect on the death penalty and determine ways to take action. For more information and a free guidebook, call 800-AMNESTY, ext. 508.

Discuss the news

The online edition of United Church News now includes interactive forums where you can post your opinions about the stories you read in the paper. Stop by to discuss with other UCC members the issues you've read about.


The Pension Boards is an Affiliated Ministry and United Church Foundation is an Associated Ministry of the Executive Council.  The restructure graphic in last month's issue of United Church News was incorrect, but the article accompanying the graphic was correct.