September - October 2009

Parker Lecture marks 50 years of media justice

The Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc. — the media-justice arm of the UCC — will hold its 27th annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture and Awards Program Sept. 30 at The Riverside Church in New York City.

This year's event, commemorating OC, Inc.'s 50th anniversary, has shifted to the UCC's original national headquarters city of New York after several years at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Created in 1982 to recognize the Rev. Everett C. Parker's pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting, the Parker Lecture is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications and the digital age from an ethical perspective.

The Rev. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the USA, will give this year's lecture.

2009 honorees include: Patti Miller and Ben Popken, coexecutive editors of The Consumerist; Patti Miller, vice president of public policy, Sesame Workshop; and Samuel Simon, chairman of Amplify Public Affairs and former president of the Telecommunications Research and Action Center (TRAC).

For more information or to register, please visit or contact Jeff Woodard at 216/736-2211.

2009 Calling Congregations Conference

The 2009 Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Calling Congregations Conference brings together those concerned about the impact of pastoral leadership and the need to identify talented young people to serve congregations in the future.

The open-registration, ecumenical gathering takes place Oct. 8-10 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta.

Theologian and author Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia University, and Judy Fentress Williams, associate professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, are the featured speakers.

The conference focuses on the role of pastors, educators, church staff and lay leaders in cultivating and supporting young adults with leadership gifts for ministry. Anyone with an interest in developing future church leaders is welcome.

FTE's Calling Congregations initiative seeks to establish a national network of 500 congregations and church-related partners engaged in supporting future pastoral leaders. It offers regional workshops, a national conference, web-based resources and up to 40 fellowships annually which match a congregation's financial support toward tuition and expenses for a young church member's first year of seminary.

FTE is a leading ecumenical advocate for excellence and diversity in pastoral ministry and theological scholarship. It provides more than $1.5 million annually in fellowships and support to gifted young people from all denominations and racial/ethnic backgrounds.

More information is available at

Our Whole Lives expnads fall training schedule

More than a dozen regional training events are being held this fall in support of the UCC's sexuality education program — Our Whole Lives.

The program was jointly developed by the UCC and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Based on the values of self worth, responsibility, sexual health, justice and inclusivity, these resources have provided life af?? rming and life saving information to more than 40,000 children, youth, young adults and adults.

Since 2000, the United Church of Christ has trained over 1,100 facilitators. Parents, pastors, children and youth are giving Our Whole Lives high praise. As Rev. Melanie Oommen of First Congregational UCC in Eugene, Ore., says, "Our Whole Lives is demonstrating that church can be a place where we truly bring our whole selves, at every stage of our development as human beings."

A complete list of Our Whole Lives–Sexuality and Our Faith training events can be found at Please check back often as more facilitator training events are being planned on a regular basis.

For further information please contact Ann L. Hanson, UCC minister for sexuality education and justice, or 216/736-3718.

UCC Partners in Service seeks volunteers

The UCC "Partners in Service" program invites anyone between the ages of 19 and 89 to consider serving as a full-time volunteer for a period of one month up to a year or more. The program deadline is Sept. 30, 2009, for placements beginning on or after January 2010.

A variety of skills and your critical presence are needed in diverse mission settings throughout the United States, including disaster recovery ministries, community organizing for justice advocacy, UCC camps and conference centers, direct service with homeless populations and within poverty contexts, housing ministries, mental health ministries, and youth settings, among others.

A list of placement possibilities is available online at or in a printed booklet.

Complete the introductory application online to start the conversation or contact the Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss, executive for UCC Volunteer Ministries, for more information at or 216/736-3214.

Pilgrim Press Fall 2009 titles

Pilgrim Press has announced the release of seven titles in the coming months. Titles are available from UCC Resources online or by calling 800/537-3394.

"Encounters at the Counter: What Congregations Can Learn About Hospitality," by Alan Johnson (Spirituality/Congregational Vitality)
"The Evangelical Catechism: A New Translation for the 21st Century," by Frederick R. Trost Religion/Christianity/Catechisms)
"New Ecclesiology & Polity: The United Church of Christ," by Clyde J. Steckel (Religion/Christianity/United Church of Christ)
"The Healing Word: Preaching & Teaching Health Ministry," by Deborah L. Patterson (Health & Wellness/Spirituality)
"Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western Homophobia," by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. (Religion/Gender Studies)
"The Singing Bowl: 26 Children's Sermons with Activities," by Randy Hammer (Children's Sermons)
"Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons from the World of Sports," by Josh Tinley (Spirituality)

Axis of Friendship with Iran events

UCC congregations are encouraged to act upon a General Synod 27 resolution and help build an Axis of Friendship with the people of Iran.

Two simple events are suggested: light a candle on the evening of Sept. 12, the day after we commemorate the events of 9/11; lift up the Axis of Friendship and the people of Iran in your worship service on Sunday, Sept. 13.

The Axis of Friendship coalition is co-sponsored by six UCC congregations and the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries. More information can be found at