Our Whole Lives, together with Sexuality and Our Faith, helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior in the context of their faith. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
Our Whole Lives
- is a series of sexuality education programs for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, Young Adults and Adults. The resources are written by professional sexuality educators and provide accurate information for parents, teachers and pastors to be used in the affirming and supportive setting of our churches. Order your curriculum via UCC Resources.
- The resources are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
- There is a Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives Grades K-1 and Grades 4-6 that accompanies the Our Whole Lives resource for those age levels. Our Whole Lives Grades 4-6 also uses the book, It's Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris.
- Is written by United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalist Association members and is the accompanying resource used for each of the grade groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9 and grades 10-12, Young Adults and Adults in the church setting.
- All but the Adult book have separate sections devoted to UCC and UUA faith traditions. The Adult Sexuality and Our Faith book has reflects UCC theology. However, the UUA Adult Sexuality and Our Faith companion is available by calling their bookstore: 800-215-9076. By using Sexuality and Our Faith, leaders integrate worship, prayer and discussion of United Church of Christ faith values and principles into the programs for each age group.
Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith resources may be purchased by visiting UCC Resources. UCC members who are attending an OWL training may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a discount code to use when purchasing their materials.
What do these resources provide?
Each level of Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith offers:
- A well-designed, teacher-friendly leader's guide
- Trained leaders
- Parent orientation programs that engage parents in the sexuality education of their children
- United Church of Christ materials incorporating worship and religious values into the program
- Up-to-date information and candid answers to all participants' questions
- Activities to help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
- Effective group-building to create a safe and supportive peer environment
- Education about sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment
- Opportunities to critique media messages about gender and sexuality
- Acceptance of diversity
- Encouragement to act for justice
Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith respond to General Synod actions calling for the development of sexuality education materials for all ages. Participating in a human sexuality program in a supportive and affirming environment in the church will help participants understand that sexuality is an important part of the way God created us; that their church cares about their sexual development; and that caring Christian adults are willing and able to talk with them about their questions and concerns.
Other helpful Our Whole Lives links:
Minister Amy Johnson on Sexuality & the Church:
Bringing our Whole Selves to God
- Interested in Hosting an Our Whole Lives Training? Download the Our Whole Lives Hosting Guide!
- Why get trained? Lean more about Our Whole Lives/Sexuality and Our Faith Facilitator Training.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- A Selected Chronology of UCC Relevant Actions and Events
For more than 25 years, The Leaders Box has proven to be a valuable resource for local church leaders to consult regarding questions of committee structure, staff positions, constitutional revisions, volunteer recruitment, group life, covenant, church membership, and much more.
The original Leaders Box was an actual box with hundreds of letter-size "cards" that could circulate from a church's library. While some of the cards are notably outdated (for example, one card describes the use of a mimeograph in newsletter production, and there are no cards that provide guidance on the construction of a church website), still much of the informaiton remains insightful for churches today.
Particularly relevant and often-requested cards from The Leaders Box are available in PDF:
Ageism and the Church
Constitution and Bylaws of Your Church
Mission of Your Church
Organization and Structure of Your Church
Persons with Disabilities and the UCC
Power and Authority
Seminaries and the UCC
Theology in the UCC
Positions, Offices and Organizations
Governing Board Member
Nominating Committee Member
Pastoral Relations Committee Member
Secretary of a Group
Secretary of the Church Office
Secretary or Clerk of the Church
Tasks and Skills
Annual Meeting Planning
Church Office Management
Communicating within the Church
Employing Persons in Your Church
Evaluating a Meeting or Program
Introducing an Idea
Members Who Have Moved Away
New Member Assimilation
Planning in the Local Church
Position Description Writing
Searching for a Pastor
Seminary Students and Your Church
Teaming of Leaders
Visiting in the Hospital
The Manual on Church: Perspectives and Procedures for Association and Local Church Covenantal Partners explores the covenantal relationships between local congregations and Associations/Conferences acting as Associations. MOC is to be used by and with Committees on the Ministry, Association and Conference staff, and local church members to foster dialogue and increased understanding of what it means to walk together in all God's ways as expressions of the church.
The Church Shaped by Covenant
Autonomy and Oversight in Covenantal Relationships
Expectations of Associations in Covenant with Local Churches
Expectations of Local Churches in Covenant with Associations
Entering into Covenant
A Chart Summarizing the Procedure for Entering into Covenant
Dissolution of Covenantal Partnership
Characteristics of Faithful Covenantal Relationships
Glossary of Terms
"Looking at a student means seeing beyond that person as a learner and thinking of the development of the whole child. It means considering all aspects of a child's personality 'works in progress.' It means showing them love and gentle guidance and acceptance. My faith calls me to be the most positive part of the day for many children." —Whose Child Left Behind? Why?, "All Denominational Survey," Public School Educator, Illinois Conference
Many congregations establish formal partnerships with public schools in their communities. Such congregations respect religious liberty by focusing on service and honoring the First Amendment's protections. They provide mentoring, and tutoring. They promote literacy. They help children with music or reading or gardening or science projects. School staff and church partners get together for joint visioning. The limits are as wide as the imagination.
Justice & Witness Ministries Resources to Support School-Congregational Partnerships
- What Can Your Church Do Through Partnership to Support Children, Teachers, and Your Public Schools? This 2012 resource is packed with ideas and suggestions for your church's collaboration with your neighborhood school.
- Experiencing Public Schools, A Process of Immersion and Discernment is a short guide to help your congregation set up, carry out, and reflect on an immersion trip to one of your community's public schools.
- Whose Child Left Behind? Why? Report of the UCC Public Education Task Force's work between 2001 and 2005. Ends with ideas for a church that wishes to partner with a school. Study guide is published in the 2006 Message on Public Education .
Specific Models and Resources to Help Churches with Partnerships
National Education Association Priority Schools Campaign: NEA has launched a major campaign that includes outreach and materials to guide and support congregational-school partnership activities to help transform schools that struggle and are in School Improvement Grant status. Here is how NEA describes its Priority Schools Campaign: "Ours is a transformation that unites all stakeholders—students, administratorrs, policymakers, parents, communities—in a collaborative mission to fulfill the promise of public education." Here is a guide for community partners: What Community Members Can Do To Support Priority Schools.
The Children's Aid Society in New York City, with its National Technical Assistance Center for Community Schools (212) 569-2866), and extensive on-line resources, offers among the strongest models for full service Community Schools that may include multiple partners and services like health and dental clinics and Head Start programs. These are the lighted school houses, open from early morning into the evening and on weekends. While a congregation rarely serves as the lead partner in a Community School, if your city has a group of Community Schools, your church can explore joining the coalition under the coordination of the lead agency, which will provide extensive institutional support in terms of fund-raising and service management. Here is the story of a visit to a wonderfun Community School in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
Faith For Change provides this overview of a new Graduation Ministry Toolkit. Faith for Change staff will come to your congregation free of charge to train volunteers for your congregation's graduation ministry.
One Church One School is a nationwide partnership initiative of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, which encourages congregations in any denomination to join One Church One School. Check out the website for program information or contact Executive Director, Ms. Phedonia Johnson email@example.com, (773-651-00710).
WHAT MATTERS TO YOU? MATTERS TO US
Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith provides essential reflections on core themes of the United Church of Christ, while inviting new and long-standing members alike to consider their own identity and faith formation.
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith in both its online and print versions is adaptable to various congregational settings. View deas for Teaching and Learning for examples on how use this resource.
You can order the entire printed resource by calling 800-537-3394 or from UCPress.com.
God is Still Speaking, .... Ready, Set, Grow! The Evangelism Ministry Team is glad to present these e.word resources for congregations and disciples to grow in the vitality of their witness to the still speaking God. This resource contains a new e.word Volume 4.1 and all the articles found in all six volumes.
New vision churches
Nearly 100 new and renewing congregations of the United Church of Christ have requested information and assistance from the Evangelism Ministries Team. The Evangelism Team is actively involved with many of these congregations. Click here to find a new or renewing congregation near you.
is a website designed for anyone, clergy or lay interested in evangelism and looking for resources that will help them understand more fully what the Bible requires of us. The information will assist you in sharing the grace of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ with others and encourage you as individuals and as churches to awaken to the many opportunities you encounter each day to be an evangelist. Here you will find stories about evangelism, religious humor, some of the more popular trends, recommended resources, and links to many of the other Christian evangelism sites on the internet as well as links to the evangelism Web sites of the Evangelism Connections partners.
Evangelism Connections is a partnership of evangelism staff persons from the following denominations: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, American Baptist Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Presbyterian Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church of America, the United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church and Net Results.
Item Number: ECE102
Title: "In Our Own Words: Youth Speak Out About Living the Life"
12 for $8 or $.75 per copy
For assistance, please phone customer service at 1-800-537-3394
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Vital Resources
Why do we need to do things differently?
Where do we start?
Transitioning your church
Advertising/marketing/reaching new people Denominational issues
Hispanic churches/ Resouces en el espanol
African American churches
Evangelism and worship
Financial and stewardship
By Pamela M. Wilson, M.S.W.
Our Whole Lives 7-9 is the centerpiece of the program series. Through a variety of engaging activities, participants build values, interpersonal skills, and knowledge. The comprehensive approach speaks to participants' needs today and helps prepare them for a healthy and meaningful tomorrow. Initial sessions of the program include parent orientation. The first session includes parents and young people.
Pamela Wilson, M.S.W., has been an independent program consultant and trainer since 1983. She has developed and led sexuality education programs with youth and families. She currently trains and develops curricula for educators and counselors on issues of human sexuality and adolescent parenthood. In addition, Wilson conducts training on diversity issues with nonprofit organizations and corporations. She is the author of numerous publications, including When Sex Is the Subject: Attitudes and Answers for Young children. She is featured in the sexuality education videos Raising Healthy Kids: Families Talk About Sexual Health and Little Questions, Big Questions: The case for Family Life Education in the Early Grades.
Justice and Witness Ministries responds to the call of Christ through public witness, policy advocacy, issue education, and grassroots empowerment to build a more just, compassionate and inclusive world. The UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (JPANet) is our denomination’s grassroots advocacy network composed of individual members and local UCC congregations across the country. Our work is grounded in General Synod resolutions, and formed by a biblical understanding of prophetic ministry.
Join the network and you will start receiving weekly action alerts, like the ones below.
To address the level of toxic air emissions impacting at-risk communities, it is critical that we call on Congress to speak out against rollback of critical environmental protections by the administration, conduct meaningful oversight over violations of existing toxic air standards, and support robust funding for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Three years later, Congress still needs to pass legislation to reverse course on the Muslim, refugee, and asylum bans. Families remain banned from reunification and refugees banned from protection.
Advocacy is hard work!
Luckily, Justice and Witness Ministries has a multitude of resources to help you out. If you can't find what you're looking for, contact JWM at email@example.com; 216.736.3700. We may be able to locate something you need from one of our many ecumenical advocacy partners. We want you to be equipped for peace and justice work!
Check out our resources below!
Getting to the Root of It
We’ve asked our staff to help us unpack the complex justice issues that we’re working on. Using our General Synod pronouncements as the basis for these reflections, we hope to provide insights into the issues you care about that are rooted in our shared faith, and can inform your advocacy efforts.
Witness for Justice
Witness for Justice (WFJ) is a weekly editorial opinion column for public distribution which identifies timely or urgent justice issues. WFJ is a theologically based perspective founded on historic commitment to justice and peace of the United Church of Christ.
Podcast for a Just World
Podcast For a Just World invites listeners to engage complex realities grounded in faith and considers what it means to build a just world for all. The weekly podcast includes a regular segment, "reading the story of God in the streets," reflecting on lectionary readings, weekly news and updates from Justice and Witness Ministries. Weekly guests include artists, activists, ministers and people along the way. PFJW is a podcast of the United Church of Christ.
Stream on Soundcloud or iTunes.
- Justice Bible Studies
Public Policy Advocacy Guide
The Public Policy Advocacy Guide provides tips, tools and theological insights for understanding our call to advocacy, engaging in organizing, and getting your message heard by decision makers are included. This is your one-stop tool for engaging in faith-based advocacy!
To request hard copies of this resource contact Helga Mingione at 216-736-3700.
What is advocacy? Why should I care? What difference can I make? Get an overview of the basics and learn how to form your advocacy strategy.
Biblical Foundations for Advocacy
Two central themes run through the Bible concerning justice. The first is God's all-encompassing love, concern, and mercy for all human beings. The second is our responsibility to love God's earth and to care for God's people. Learn more about our biblical call to engage in advocacy and promote the common good.
Capitol Hill Basics
The key to working with your members of Congress is to remember that they owe their position to votes from your district and state. They are in office to represent your views, which means that members of Congress do pay attention to their constituents, and you can have an impact. Learn how.
Does Advocacy Make a Difference?
Yes! It certainly does. Read more about being an effective advocate.
Think of the media as an opportunity to educate people in your community about the issues you care about and experience firsthand. Local media forums, such as newspapers, radio, or TV cable-access programs, reach many people and are very significant in shaping opinions. People learn from and listen to people they know – people from their communities.
Visit our UCC Washington Office
The goal of our UCC Washington office is to make a better world possible by addressing the systemic problems that we face as a country and as part of the world. Hunger, poverty, peace and security, racism, care for the earth. These are among the types of justice issues that we work to improve through federal policies.
Join the Network
The Justice and Peace Action Network (JPANet) is our electronic grassroots advocacy network. It's composed of individual members and local UCC congregations across the country. The JPANet both educates and engages its members in shaping public policy in keeping with God's vision of a just and loving society and includes:
- Weekly Legislative Action Alerts:
Brief email synopsis of pending legislation or current justice issues, and a call for action each week. Perfect for taking personal action on the justice issues you care about and suitable for posting in newsletters and bulletins.
- Monthly Newsletter:
Includes invitations to regional and national gatherings, resources and opportunities for witness.
Deeply connected to the recently renewed dialogue about the criminal justice system and the pressing need to address the reality of mass incarceration are issues at the core of our faith tradition. Our understandings of justice, healing, restoration, reconciliation, redemption and transformation are important spiritual resources for us as we wrestle with these issues. Indeed, as people of faith, we are called to this conversation in a significant way, on multiple levels of systemic change, public policy change and individual change.
The teachings of the Gospel particularly challenge us to engage these realities in ways that take us beyond the surface and into true encounter with Jesus. In Matthew we hear Jesus proclaiming, “When I was in prison, you visited me.” It is easy to glide past these words, but their import is powerful.
“When I was in prison, you visited me.”
In the lives and faces of those who fall into the criminal justice system, we encounter Christ. Even in the midst of profound brokenness. We are challenged to seek out the image of God in this complex and challenging context. We cannot enter the conversation at arms-length. Because we are followers of Jesus, we are called to be present as ambassadors of healing, restoration and justice in jail cells, courtrooms, booking rooms, prison yards and detention centers.
Commentary: A call to action opposing mandatory minimums for drug crimes
May 15, 2017
The United Church of Christ remains a faithful witness and advocate for criminal justice reforms and an end to the disproportionate number of people of color within the prison industrial complex.
Racial justice proponents reject new Department of Justice guidelines on criminal punishment
May 12, 2017
Critical of new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Justice outlining tougher punishments for nonviolent drug offenders, United Church of Christ racial justice leaders are calling on the wider church to protect vulnerable communities and to renew their commitment to justice to create a just world for all.
General Synod 30 Resolutions on Mass Incarceration
- Dismantling Discriminatory Systems of Mass Incarceration in the United States
- Dismantling the New Jim Crow
Download our 1-page resources on criminal justice for use in your congregation:
- Our Faith and the Criminal Justice System
- The United Church of Christ & Criminal Justice Reform - Our Historic Witness
- The Interfaith Witness for Criminal Justice Reform
- Fast Facts about Criminal Justice & Mass Incarceration
- Ferguson or Fallujah? The Militarization of Law Enforcement
“When I was in prison….”: Our Faith and the Criminal Justice System
A primer by Sandy Sorensen, Director of our UCC Washington Office. In it she looks at our criminal justice system, our call to stand with those in prison, and the momentum building for change
The state of our criminal justice system
More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in the United States today, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 1.5 million are in federal or state facilities for adults. The remainder are in local jails, juvenile facilities, military prisons, jails on Indian reservations, or immigration facilities. This is not the full picture, however. More than 5 million additional persons are under Justice supervision, either on probation or on parole. The number of people currently active within the system is over 7 million.
The United States imprisons more of its own people than any other country in the world. For every 100,000 U.S. residents, more than 700 are in prison. In contrast, the incarceration rate per 100,000 residents in the U.K. is 125; in Canada, 110; and in the Netherlands, France and Italy it is 90. In Japan, the incarceration rate is 40 per 100,000. Of all the prisoners in the world, one out of every four is incarcerated in the United States.
The number of U.S. prisoners continues to grow. The prison population has more than quadrupled since 1980, and has risen sharply for women and youth. Greatest increases are in the South and West regions, but the general trend is consistent across all states. Approximately 1 in every 100 men and 1 in every 1,700 women in America resides in a federal or state facility. If this trend persists, we can expect that one in every 20 of America's children will serve time in a state or federal prison.
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ has established a policy base calling for reformation of the nation's justice system, with specific attention to promoting training and rehabilitation of inmates; reduction in mass incarceration, especially through alternative sentencing; attending to race and class bias in arrests and sentencing; opposing excessive bail; opposing the growth of the prison industrial complex; and calling for increased public awareness of prison conditions.
Learn More About Criminal Justice
- Capital Punishment
- Mental Illness & Incarceration
- Our criminal justice system on the world stage
- Prison Labor
- Prison Ministry
- The Privatization of Prisons
- Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and the positions of the United Church of Christ
- Resources on Criminal Justice
- The relationship between incarceration and crime rates
- What Can I Do?