For the second time since its inception, there will be no Balaam's Courier to serve as an alternative voice for General Synod goers. Due to the deaths of Balaam's founder the Rev. Ted Braun on Feb. 23 and his wife, Donna, on March 4, Balaam's is on indefinite hiatus, and most likely will not return.
In what United Church of Christ environmental activists are lauding "a milestone moment," Pope Francis stressed an urgency for protecting Planet Earth in his encyclical on climate change, titled Laudato Si or "Praised Be: On the Care of the Common Home." On June 28, the Rev. Meighan Pritchard, the UCC's minister for environmental justice, invites UCC congregations everywhere to ring their bells at noon local time to show their support for Laudato Si and its call to environmental action.
The Rev. Waltrina Middleton writes to share that her beloved first cousin was among the nine fatalities of a shooting in a South Carolina Church. "Her death was confirmed this morning, and the unspeakable grief of this loss has knocked me and my family off-kilter," Middleton shares a letter to friends and colleagues across the wider church.
In its continuous effort to bring in more financial resources to advance the mission and ministry of the United Church of Christ, the denomination’s leaders are signing a letter of intent today, June 10, to sell the national offices building and the adjoining hotel the church owns to a Georgia-based property management firm. The silver-lining in the agreement is that the UCC will continue to make downtown Cleveland its home by leasing the building back for another two decades.
Recently it was reported that Chaplain Modder, who once ministered to Navy SEALs, could be thrown out of the military after he was accused of failing "to show tolerance and respect" during private counseling sessions regarding issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality, specifically homosexuality and pre-marital sex. As a few ecclesiastical endorsers work to secure the availability of chaplains who are able and willing to serve to all service members, this display of intolerance is unacceptable.
The theological discussion around the idea of multiple religious belonging, the concept of a person identifying with more than one faith, continues, and at an early point in the conversation there are many questions to be answered—such as what it means for Christianity. But the uncharted aspects of the topic aren’t slowing two United Church of Christ congregations from recognizing this growing trend. Embracing religious diversity is part of their cultures, extending their welcome to people of any faith.
The Habakkuk Group, the group charged with not just revising the current Manual on Ministry, but re-visioning it, finished three days of intensive discussion at the United Church of Christ national offices, laying the foundation and clarifying the ways in which ministers are authorized to serve the church.
Research shows that nine churches close every day throughout the United States. To help guide congregations thought this often difficult process, the United Church of Christ has introduced a new resource for churches facing the prospect of closure.
As the buildings that were burned during the race-related riots in Ferguson, Mo., come down one by one, St. Peter's Evangelical United Church of Christ has broken ground on a new community resource center that signifies its commitment to help rebuild the city.
To include the church in the conversation of multiple religious belonging and to better serve a growing number of multi-faith families, the UCC is gathering a group of 30 clergy and theologians in the same room this week for one of the first global discussions on multiple religious belonging.