Mission Trip Opportunities within the United States
||Small seed grants encourage and support participation of groups from UCC congregations and affiliated organizations to engage in international hands-on mission and service opportunities through UCC/Disciples Global Ministries in areas of disaster, development or refugee ministries. Read More...|
|CWS Kits (Health, Baby and School kits) are needed year round for distribution in times of disasters and rehabilitation. Visit the Church World Service website for instructions on assembly and shipping kits. Read more...|
|Assist in resettling - Church World Service Affiliate office.|
All gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing are tax deductible and 100% of designated gifts go to the designated area of response. Non-designated funds also are highly encouraged. They allow One Great Hour of Sharing to address hidden and forgotten emergencies around the world.
The Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRS EJ) are an association of Christian ministers that actively pursues political resolution of Racial, Social and Economic Justice issues. MRS EJ is the clergy component of the African-American historically under represented peoples of the United Church of Christ. Although it operates separately from United Black Christians, the lay component of the African-American historically under represented peoples, the two entities do sometimes work together on pronouncements within the UCC.
According to their old web page, they are a group that seeks to "address racial justice, within the structure of the church and within the world, to focus on economic justice, noting that economic denial is one facet of racism, and to give voice and power to the many social issues where people are denied justice."
Council for Hispanic Ministries (CHM) is an autonomous body working cooperatively with Council Regions and Associations, Conferences, and Ministries of the UCC to promote its work among Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas in the United States of America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other nations of the Caribbean, Central and South America.
The Council for Hispanic Ministries:
• Promotes its mission within the United Church of Christ;
• Monitors boards and ministries of the United Church of Christ that deal with concerns and issues of significant importance to Hispanic people;
• Enhances the international, intercultural, and interfaith dialogue among its constituencies.
• Assists in the spiritual, theological and worship experience that honors the context and culture of its members and congregations.
For all of you are the children of God. —Galatians 3:28
Each person is created in the image of God. But whenever we devise, maintain or perpetuate systems and structures that oppress people based on race and/or ethnicity, we interfere with God's purpose and the opportunity for all God's children to be fully who they are created to be. Racism is an affront to God.
Racism is racial prejudice plus power. It is rooted in the belief that one group has racial superiority and entitlement over others. Its power is manifested in every institution and system, both nationally and internationally, which was historically established and continues to function to benefit one group of people to the disadvantage of other groups. Awareness and education will help us to become anti-racist individuals and foster the development of anti-racist systems and institutions that can eliminate privilege for some and oppression for others.
The United Church of Christ and its predecessor churches have made a priority commitment to supporting policies and structures that make real our Christian commitment to racial justice. The UCC's emphasis means more than simply challenging personal prejudices, but involves a commitment to in-depth analysis of societal policies and structures that either work toward the elimination of racism or perpetuate it.
During General Synod 23 an addendum was added to 1993 Pronouncement calling the UCC to become a Multiracial, Multicultural Church. The addendum called the UCC to also become an "Anti-Racist" denomination. In doing so, we encourage all Conferences and Associations and local churches of the UCC to adopt anti-racism mandates, including policy that encourages anti-racism programs for all UCC staff and volunteers.
Our commitment to relationship with all the peoples of the earth has led the United Church of Christ has entered into dialogue with other faith traditions.
"What does it mean to profess Christian faith in a world of many faiths?" "How can I be fully a Christian and at the same time respect the faith of others?" "What does it mean to be 'saved'?" "How do I interpret in an interfaith society the Bible verses that understand Jesus as 'the way'?" These are questions with which members of our congregations wrestle every day.
General Synod's commitment to interfaith dialogue is expressed in part through the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches. Through the NCC we have been able to connect with leaders of many non-Christian faiths. Other settings of the church are engaged in countless interfaith dialogues, projects and relationships. In many communities, UCC congregations join other churches in organizing coalitions with members of other faiths on issues of shared concern. Our commitment to understanding among faiths is also international: Many missionaries called called by the Common Global Ministries Board are deeply involved in interfaith relationships—especially in societies where Christians are a minority.
In 1987 and 1989, General Synod adopted resolutions reinforcing our commitment to reconciliation with the Jewish and Muslim communities.
Links to Resources
Resource on Interreligious Relations
National Council of Churches Interfaith Relations Commission
General Synod: 1987 statement on Christian-Jewish relations
General Synod: 1989 statement on Christian-Muslim relations
National Council of Churches: Interfaith Relations [NCC website]
History of interfaith relations [WCC website]
Christian-Jewish relations [WCC website]
Christian-Muslim relations [WCC website]
Links to Websites of Other Faiths
In 1989 the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) approved a historic partnership of full communion. The two churches proclaimed mutual recognition of their sacraments and ordained ministry.
Though remaining two distinct denominations, the UCC and Disciples have committed through their partnership to seek opportunities for common ministry, especially where work together will enhance the mission of the church.
The partnership is a unique experiment in U.S. ecumenism. In every setting of the two churches, UCC members and Disciples are serving Christ side by side. There are now more than 30 "federated" congregations affiliated with both denominations, and it is now common for Disciples and UCC ministers to serve congregations of the other denomination. The Common Global Ministries Board, formed by the UCC's Wider Church Ministries and the Disciples' Division of Overseas Ministries, unites the international mission work of the two churches.
|Links to Resources|
Report from Ecumenical Partnership Committee
General Synod: 1989 vote on Partnership
Common Global Ministries Board website
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) website
Partnership Website [unofficial]
The UCC's commitment to reconciliation among the separated branches of the Body of Christ includes our relationships of full communion. Among these relationships are the Ecumenical Partnership between the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Formula of Agreement (FOA) among the UCC, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Reformed Church in America. Another relationship—which aims eventually to establish full communion among nine Protestant and Anglican churches in the U.S.—is Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC). For the first time, CUIC offers hope that full ecclesial reconciliation will be possible between historically African American and European American churches.
Full communion means that divided churches recognize each others' sacraments and provide for the orderly transfer of ministers from one denomination to another. For example, Disciples of Christ ministers frequently serve UCC congregations, and UCC ministers can be called by Disciples congregations. While full communion opens up broad possibilities for cooperation among the national and regional ministries of participating churches, it is above all in relationships between local congregations that agreements of full communion become alive.
Some of these relationships are new; others date back to earlier centuries. In 17th-century Holland, the Pilgrims (who later founded the first Congregational churches in New England) were in full communion with the French and Dutch Reformed churches. We have for decades been in full communion with the worldwide Reformed family through the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. In recent years, we have entered into bilateral relationships with the Union of Evangelical Churches (Germany) and the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa. We are also exploring a closer relationship with the Baptist tradition through dialogue with the Alliance of Baptists.
Links to Resources
A Journey to Full Communion (United Church of Canada)
Ecumenical Partnership (Disciples/UCC)
Formula of Agreement (Reformed/Lutheran)
Alliance of Baptists
Churches Uniting in Christ
Union of Evangelical Churches (Germany)
Congregational Christian Church (American Samoa)
World Alliance of Reformed Churches [WARC website]
Links to Websites of Our Ecumenical Partners
African Methodist Episcopal Church 2
Alliance of Baptists
Armenian Evangelical Union 1
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 1 2
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 2
Episcopal Church 2
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 1
International Council of Community Churches 2
Presbyterian Church (USA) 1 2
Reformed Church in America 1
Union der Evangelischen Kirchen 1
United Methodist Church 2
1 Relationships of full communion
2 Churches Uniting in Christ. The African American Episcopal Zion Church is also a member of CUIC but at present does not have a churchwide website.
Centuries of division between the Lutheran and Reformed branches of Protestant Christianity came to an end in 1997 when three Reformed churches (including the UCC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America agreed on a relationship of full communion through a "Formula of Agreement." A few years earlier, Reformed and Lutheran churches in Europe—where the division between the two Protestant families dates back to the time of Luther and Calvin—agreed to a similar reconciliation through the Leuenberg Agreement.
acknowledges common historical roots between the two traditions, with a deeply shared theological and liturgical heritage.
moves beyond the historic 16th-century condemnations that divided Lutheran and Reformed Christians.
accepts the reality that there are important theological, spiritual and liturgical differences between the two traditions, but that these are not church-dividing, but rather a gift to each other.
celebrates the potential for shared mission and ministry as the two traditions grow closer.
The United Church of Christ is the only church in the relationship that has roots in both the Reformed and Lutheran heritage. Our "German Evangelical" tradition drew from the wells of both Reformed and Lutheran Christianity. Many UCC congregations of our "German Reformed" tradition—especially in historically German-American communities in Pennsylvania—have lived together with Lutheran congregations as "union churches" since the 18th century.
|Links to Resources|
General Synod: 1997 vote for Formula of Agreement
Text of Formula of Agreement
Orderly Exchange of Ministers of Word and Sacrament
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA website]
Presbyterian Church (USA) [PCUSA website]
Reformed Church in America [RCA website]
Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry -- historic step by divided Christian churches towards a common understanding
In 1982 the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (WCC) published an historic theological statement titled "Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry" (BEM). The statement represents years of ecumenical study and dialogue on the the church's sacraments and offices of ministry. BEM explores what can be affirmed together by Christian churches of several (and historically separated) traditions—including churches of the Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican and Orthodox families. It also recognizes that much more work remains before these traditions as they explore the many different accents in sacramental life and the understanding of ministry in the Body of Christ.
In 1985, General Synod received and committed itself to further study of the BEM statement. Both the BEM text and General Synod's response are available here, along with links to other WCC resources.
|Links to Resources|
Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry Statement [WCC website]
Faith and Order pages [WCC website]
General Synod action on BEM
UCC response to BEM
The United Church of Christ is a founding member of the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches and many other ecumenical agencies and projects. The NCC and WCC began to take shape in the late 19th-century in response to the worldwide ecumenical movement.
The UCC is also a member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches—the worldwide communion of churches in the Reformed, Presbyterian and Congregationalist traditions.
|Links to Resources|