Build on the Love, Join the Movement
The United Church of Christ General Minister and President joins the Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries in this announcement and invitation:
The United Church of Christ National Setting will be sunsetting the initiative known as Three Great Loves (3GL) after its successful four-year run. This will happen at our Special Edition General Synod in July, where we will celebrate all the meaningful work done over the last four years.
3GL launched at General Synod in Baltimore in 2017 as a way to activate our denomination in a shared response to our newly minted Purpose, Mission, and Vision statements. Love of God and love of neighbor is our purpose; love, justice, and welcome to all is our mission; and a just world for all is our vision.
Through four years we have narrated and curated your stories of how love is embodied and incarnated in the work you do. It has been overwhelming to be entrusted with your stories and to hear about what your commitments of love have made possible in the world and in your communities.
We want to celebrate the energy, vision, and creativity that David Sigmund and Kimberly Vasko brought to this work. Their leadership and passion for 3GL helped build broad awareness of how important our contributions of love are; and the impact that is made when we commit to our love of neighbor, love of children, and love of creation.
A new challenge faces America today; and a new shared mission is called for. Following the impulse of the Holy Spirit, we feel called to focus our acts of shared love in a new direction.
Although we are sunsetting the 3 Great Loves initiative after four years of sharing stories around the framework of love of children, love of neighbor, and love of creation, the curation of our collective story will not end. We will continue to tell the story of how the United Church of Christ bears witness in the world. We will continue to learn from one another and be challenged in our ministries by what is possible when we work together.
Our hope is that we will continue to build on love over the next biennium by focusing our gaze on the many ways individuals, churches, and ministries of the United Church of Christ are being transformed and serving as agents of change in a world that remains fractured by the evils of white exceptionalism and racism. Our hope is to shape our collective work in the United Church of Christ toward anti-racism into a movement.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
Since 1963, the General Synods of the United Church of Christ have voted 12 resolutions, statements, and pronouncements denouncing racism, and in 2003 resolved “that the United Church of Christ is called to be an antiracist church.”
Our work toward anti-racism has changed as contexts shift but we have never stopped showing up. Along with the advocacy and policy work of our D.C. staff, the educational work of our racial justice staff, and the mobilization of initiatives birthed from local congregations and affiliated ministries, we have continued to strengthen our resolve toward eradicating racism for generations to come.
Similar to COVID-19 and as deadly, racism mutates and remains resistant to methods of eradication.
In recent years we have experienced a resurgence of racist vitriol globally, and it would be easy to attribute such diatribe to one person or one group of people, but such assertions are untrue and unhelpful. Structural racism pervades every institution and every aspect of our society. It has so distorted our biological, sociological, anthropological, and theological perception of “the other” that most people cannot even imagine the anti-racist church and world that we work to bring into being.
But dismantling white supremacy is not solely about what we must tear down. We must ask ourselves, what must we build in its place? Over the next biennium, the national setting invites you to imagine with us: What does a world free of racism look like to you, and how might we work to bring such a vision into reality across every area of church and society?
We are inviting you to “Join The Movement toward Racial Justice” by: sharing your individual, congregational, and ministry initiatives with the wider church; exploring the intersections of race with every justice ministry we uphold; and doing our own work to examine ourselves and continue learning the ways we may be complicit in upholding the structures that allow racism to thrive.
The sun will set on 3 Great Loves with the close of the 33rd General Synod, yet we will continue to build on the love by sharing our journeys toward racial justice together throughout the next biennium.
With Hope and Faith,
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, Associate General Minister, Justice and Local Church Ministries
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