UCC Puerto Rican leaders visit Church House


During four action-packed days in Cleveland, the contingent held a listening session with a number of UCC leaders, including Thomas, Associate General Minister Edith A. Guffey, Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries Jose A. Malayang, Acting Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries Bennie E. Whiten Jr. and other national staff.

“The presence of these pastors was a way to recognize the important contributions they make to the whole witness of the United Church of Christ and to offer the resources of the national setting to support them in their ministries,” Thomas said. “A key goal was to deepen the relationship between the Conference and the rest of the UCC.”

The Puerto Rico Conference, while affiliated with the UCC as one of the Church’s 39 Conferences, also is an independent denomination in Puerto Rico and known there as the Iglesia Evangelica Unida. It boasts 66 local congregations and close to 5,700 members.

The current relationship between the UCC and its Puerto Rican congregations traces its origin to the mission work done in Puerto Rico by the denominational predecessors of the UCC in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“But our relationship is more than history,” Thomas said. “It’s about how we share our ministry together. Our common work on justice for Puerto Rican prisoners of conscience, on the return of the island of Vieques to its citizens by the U.S. Navy, on HIV/AIDS and increasingly in evangelism are important ways for the whole United Church of Christ to have a Christian witness in the Caribbean.”

The gathering was one of several Leaders in Koinonia (LINK) Church House events that have been sponsored and funded by Local Church Ministries’ Thomas E. Dipko Scholarship Fund for Clergy and Lay Leadership.

The Rev. Edward Rivera-Santiago, the UCC’s minister for local church development and renewal and one of the coordinators of the weekend event, called it a “kairos moment” in the UCC’s relationship with the Puerto Rico Conference.

“The folks from Puerto Rico now have a much clearer understanding of the UCC, and that was one of the great, great elements of this,” Rivera-Santiago said. “I think people went back to Puerto Rico with a much better impression of the UCC. The people have a better understanding of the products and services we have, and the church now has a better understanding of the Puerto Rico Conference and that’s good.”


The gathering was one of several Leaders in Koinonia (LINK) Church House events that have been sponsored and funded by Local Church Ministries’ Thomas E. Dipko Scholarship Fund for Clergy and Lay Leadership.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

Related News

Synod approves nonbinary bylaw language — and keeps Robert’s Rules

United Church of Christ delegates cared enough about Robert's Rules of Order to give them a...

Read More

Church leaders welcome baseball name change in Cleveland

Cleveland's Major League Baseball team will take the field in 2022 with a new name:...

Read More

Pastors appreciate stewardship resources; ‘Rooted in Love’ now available for fall campaigns

How do you build an effective stewardship campaign?  Ask a pastor who has done just...

Read More