Written by Bennett Guess
United Church News has launched a new interactive blog to lift up news about local churches and invite conversation about justice issues.
The Rev. Chuck Currie, a veteran blogger and pastor of Parkrose Community UCC in Portland, Ore., will oversee development of United Church News' blog in order to amplify secular news about UCC congregations as well as issues of concern to church members.
"For many in the UCC, the name 'Chuck Currie' was one of the first progressive voices of faith they encountered in the blogosphere," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, editor of United Church News and the UCC's acting communications director. "It's long overdue that we offer this type of give-and-take conversation. The frank, first-person approach will be new to some, but it's just the kind of accessible information-sharing that the internet affords us."
Currie was recognized by The Los Angeles Times in 2004 for "top-tier" editorial writing. A 2006 graduate of UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis, he is considered a pioneer in faith-based blogging, having written one of the first UCC-related blogs on the internet.
"Hopefully, the blog will be a little like a virtual 'water cooler' where people gather to hear the latest information and commentary about the United Church of Christ," Currie told United Church News. "The site will not only highlight news about local churches but also about the ecumenical movement and the important social justice causes our denomination is involved with."
By virtue of the medium, blogs are not intended to be one-sided commentary, but interactive conversations. While United Church News will continue to offer its scrolling denominational news headlines at the UCC's homepage, the blog will give greater attention to local churches in the news and encourage reader conversation on media-related topics. A link to the blog can be found easily at ucc.org/news or accessed directly at unitedchurchofchrist.blogspot.com.
"Very few denominations have blogs," Currie said. "So the UCC will be in a unique position of offering an on-line forum where the big issues of the day facing our churches can be discussed."
Currie said the best feedback he's ever gotten, in response to his blogging, has been when people have asked for help finding a local UCC church where they can worship.
"This new blog is an adventure in evangelism," Currie said. "With it we can reach out to people, many of whom have not yet found a church home."
An outspoken advocate for the homeless since 1986, Currie served on the board of the National Coalition for the Homeless from 1998 to 2002. In 2003, UCC-supported Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon awarded Currie its Vollum Ecumenical Humanitarian Award.
He is married to Liz Smith Currie. They have twin daugthers, Katherine and Frances.