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Celebrate the Season of Creation: Resources for your Church
First Congregational UCC in Barstow found that selling their building freed them in several ways
Walking in the footsteps of fellow Jew Jesus.
More CHURCH LIFE
The First Congregational Church of Ramona has begun their search for a new Music and Sacred Arts Director.
Team ministry: organizing church life “nature’s way”
Caring for Creation: Accepting God’s Challenge
More CHURCH VITALITY
Revisiting the Good Friday Story
Throughout the year, throughout our lives: The Blessings of Lent and Easter
A young child’s search for God; a woman’s discoveries
More SPIRITUAL SOJOURNING
Exploring and defining what makes us more human
The United Church of Christ is releasing a survey today to the wider church, looking for input from every member of the denomination about a proposed UCC mission statement.
One Day in Atlanta: Behind the Scenes of History
Humanity at its Best
by Houston M. Burnside This article is about my rediscovery of Martin Buber. The title I chose is based on a term used repeatedly by Confucius: “man at his best.” I’ve modified it here to read, “Humanity at Its Best.” ~~~ It’s been almost half a century since I studied Buber’s writings at some depth. In the course of my recent studies his name popped up again. Martin Buber was a Jewish philosopher (some say, theologian) and, over the years, many Christians have found meaning in what he had to say, and were able to connect his ideas to their Christian faith. I’m one of them. The best way for me to understand Buber is to read what he wrote as poetic prose. This is especially true when reading his book, I and Thou. Buber talked about the most meaningful way to relate to people and the world around us. In a way, he tried to define what it means to be human, in the best sense of that word. For some time now, my pitch has been that our humanness can only be found in community, in relationships, not in any kind of isolated individualism which only looks within. Buber’s discussion of ...
UCC Core Mission Calls to Jewish Moderator in New Mexico
By Anthony Moujaes (Previously published on the UCC Website) It is often said that love moves beyond bounds. For that to be true, love must move between faiths. Danny Eitingon first came to know the love and extravagant welcome of First Congregational United Church of Christ, in Albuquerque, N.M., four years ago. Eitingon was born into the Jewish faith and still identifies as Jewish today, but he has been a member of First Congregational since 2012, and recently completed a two-year term as the congregation's moderator on May 22. It was in the United Church of Christ that he came to learn that a person doesn't need to be Christian to lead a Christian life. "As human beings, we share so many things in common, and can get a lot more accomplished by celebrating what we have in common than by battling over our differences," Eitingon said. "I learned that this concept is at the core of the UCC's mission and existence." The UCC's general minister and president, the Rev. John Dorhauer, has known Eitingon since before his time as moderator. "He is a gentle, wise and compassionate soul who found in the extravagant welcome of First Congregational UCC in Albuquerque an appeal from which he ...
We May Be Small in Number, but We Can Do Mighty Things… Advice for Small, Aging Churches from Someone Who’s Been There. Resources from the workshop presented at the 2016 Annual Gathering.
By Rev. Sheri Randolph, First Congregational UCC, Barstow. Many of us have buildings which don’t work for our current needs – they’re too big, not accessible to disabled and elderly people, hard to heat and/or cool, expensive to maintain and insure… Several of the churches in the Conference have sold their buildings. Some did so while also closing the church completely, others sold their buildings and moved to more flexible space to meet their needs. The money from these sales has helped pay off Pilgrim Pines’ mortgage, provided money for local mission projects, and been used to sustain our Conference ministries. At the First Congregational UCC in Barstow, we found that selling our building has freed us from the heavy burden of upkeep and expenses, given us the flexibility to shape our worship space to our current needs, and provided us with financial resources that mean we can give more money to mission projects and not worry about who is giving and how much. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if your church is a smaller church! The majority of churches throughout Christian history have been smaller churches. Some Facts to Ponder Did you know? • Nearly half (46.5%) of all UCC congregations have 50 or fewer people ...
The South African Visitor
By Don McEvoy The telephone rang in our Atlanta home half an hour before the alarm clock was set to go off. I can’t recall the exact date, but it was sometime in late 1962 or early ’63. At that time I was serving as Regional Director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for the two states of Georgia and Alabama. Halfway around the world Nelson Mandela was in the second year of his more than twenty years of imprisonment on Robben Island. The voice on the other end of the telephone line said he was calling on behalf of Attorney General Robert Kennedy and that I should listen carefully to the message he was to convey. My initial reaction was that this was a joke some old college buddy was pulling on me. Or it could have been something orchestrated by the KKK or the John Birch Society, or God-only-knows who. But I knew enough to play it straight just in case the information was legit. It was. I was told that an important official in the African National Congress in South Africa was in Washington, DC for “unofficial” talks with the Kennedy administration. He had been allowed to enter ...
The National Council of Churches’ Christian Unity Gathering, 2016
By Rachel Chapman “Fear Not: God’s Love in an Anxious Age” was the theme woven throughout the Christian Unity Gathering of the National Council of Churches May 4 – 7 in Baltimore, MD. Opening worship on the 4th was led by The Most Blessed Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada (Orthodox Church of America); closing worship by Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church the Rev. Michael Curry, their first African American bishop. The United Church of Christ was represented in number by General Minister and President, Rev. John Dorhauer, Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, members of the national staff from Cleveland and Washington, DC as well as others with a vested interest in social justice issues. Rev. Neichelle Guidry of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago led well-attended morning Bible Studies. The National Council of Churches formally organized in 1950 “but the ecumenical spirit in the USA emerged a half century earlier… In 1907, Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist theologian and social activist, wrote Christianity and the Social Crisis, and his words galvanized church leaders into a plan of action to address what the churches already knew not only about the hostile environments millions of non-white Americans were living ...
Why the United Church of Christ?
by Connie Larkman The United Church of Christ general minister and president is releasing a survey today to the wider church, looking for input from every member of the denomination about a proposed UCC mission statement. The survey, with a completion deadline of August 22, is the latest step in crafting a Purpose, Mission and Vision Statement that underscores the UCC's commitment to unity, radical hospitality and full inclusion. In a letter to the wider church, the Rev. John C. Dorhauer shares the process that has led up to this 20-minute survey and how member feedback will help firm up the language of a statement that best answers ‘Why the United Church of Christ?" Here is the text of Rev. Dorhauer's letter: Dear Friend, The United Church of Christ is seeking to declare a Purpose, a Mission, and a Vision that is consistent with our historic commitments and our current calling; that is large enough to inspire our covenant partners at every level to give themselves fully over to a gospel that changes lives; and that is particular enough to answer the question, "Why the United Church of Christ?" I believe the Holy Spirit envisions a future in which the United Church of Christ matters. ...
by The Rev. Kaji Douśa Senior Minister, The Table: United Church of Christ of La Mesa [caption id="attachment_10337" align="alignleft" width="224"] Rev. Dousa[/caption] Opening Worship Message, Annual Gathering 2016, June 3, 2016 When it all comes down to it, where do we go? When the volunteers won’t say yes. When the meetings get tense. When our church’s wider acronyms keep shrinking and shrinking. When the narrative keeps shifting so that it’s not clear whether it’s holy ground or sand on which we stand. When the numbers are down. When old friends and lovers have moved on to other shores. When the mortgage or rent is too high. When the meds are off balance. When the other shoe drops. When it all seems too dambed much…Where do we go? He was afraid. Look at his life, and you’d have thought he was fearless. He was the thorn in the side of power. He was the pain in the *ss they did everything they could to stop. He kept showing up to say: ENOUGH! Change your ways! This cannot continue! There is a better way. But even a voice crying out in the wilderness, even the balm on the sores of pain, even the sons and daughters of righteousness ...
The UCC’s First Creation Justice Church!
by Brooks Berndt Previously published in The Pollinator: UCC Environmental Justice Blog In March, the UCC launched a new program called Creation Justice Churches. While “green church” programs are often associated with the physical operation of churches through activities such as energy audits and recycling, the Creation Justice Churches program emphasizes a broader and deeper focus. In terms of breadth, it asks congregations to discern how they can expand their circles of awareness and advocacy beyond the walls of the church, because ultimately as Christians we are called to love our neighbors and care for all of God’s creation. In terms of depth, it asks congregations to discern how they can make creation care and justice integral to their own ongoing theology and worship. This May the UCC recognized its first Creation Justice Church: MCC United Church of Christ in the Valley, North Hollywood, California. Although the Creation Justice Churches program is recent, this church has been living out the spirit and practice of creation justice for at least the past eight years. In 2008, the church decided that true recognition of creation’s interconnected web of life necessitates recognizing the Earth itself as a member of the church. The Rev. Dr. Robert ...
IUCC’s Faith & Works Conference with Justin Lee
47 years after Stonewall… 1 year after the right to marry… What’s the future of the Open & Affirming movement? How can LGBTQ persons and allies continue to expand the welcome? Join the conversation at IUCC’s 2nd annual Faith & Works Conference Friday & Saturday, Sept. 23-24 featuring Justin Lee, author of Torn, Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate and founder of the Gay Christian Network Friday at 7 pm & Saturday at 9 am Saturday at 1:15 pm the regional premier of singer Chely Wright’s dramatic coming-out story Wish Me Away ! Register online at www.iucc.org/register More information at 949-733-0220 at Irvine United Congregational Church 4915 Alton Parkway, Irvine CA 92604
Job Announcement – Music and Sacred Arts Director
The First Congregational Church of Ramona is a dynamic, growing, medium-sized church (440 members; 250 average Sunday attendance) in San Diego County, California. We are seeking a full-time music director to direct choirs, various smaller music groups, and a children’s choir. Other sacred arts programs are possible, too, based on the skillset and desires of the successful applicant. We are looking for an individual with outstanding musical skill and training, along with the ability to direct and manage a range of broad and vibrant music and sacred arts programs. Our congregation enjoys a variety of artistry – including traditional hymns and choral pieces, gospel, bluegrass, folk, classical instrumentals, bells, small vocal ensembles, children’s, and contemporary music. A Bachelor’s degree in music is required; a Master’s degree in music is preferred. Salary will be based on the skill, education, and experience of the successful applicant. Please submit a letter of interest along with a resume. Resumes must be received in our Church by August 31, 2016. We expect to begin interviews in September. Mailing address: Church office – FCC Ramona, PO Box 248 Ramona, CA 92065 Attn: Music Director Search Committee If you want to apply electronically, send your resume and a cover letter to ...
“You Are On the Air With Abundant Peace UCC!”
When you think about reaching the masses, what comes to mind? When you want to educate people, where do you turn? Here in Las Vegas Abundant Peace UCC has turned to the media and has started a weekly radio program called “PEACE TALK.” Topics will include a number of outreach-related issues, among them homelessness. In addition to being broadcast live on both an AM and a FM station, it will be streamed live online so anyone, anywhere, can listen in. So, starting Thursday, May 26, 2016, tune in weekly to PEACE TALK on Las Vegas’ station KKVV on 1060AM or 101.5FM or online at www.kkvv.com.
ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
About 100 UCC’ers will be participating in Worship in the Park. You and/or your church are more than welcome to participate also! September 25 at Griffith Park.
Registration for our Fall Fun for All Event is open!
Hans Johnson will discuss the statewide ban on throwaway plastic bags. September 4.
Workshop leader and coach Mary Scifres offers practical tools for managing change and guiding our churches into new ventures. October 1.
You are invited to a multi-congregational women’s retreat this October.
More ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
ECUMENICAL & INTERRELIGIOUS
Christian Unity Gathering explores the theme, “Fear Not: God’s Love in an Anxious Age” (with comments from The Rev. John Dorhauer)
Disciples of Christ are seeking a Vice President and Chief Financial Officer to lead and direct our financial efforts. The position will be based in our headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The latest Ecumenical and Interfaith news brought to you by the joint Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee of the Southern California Nevada Conference, United Church of Christ , and the Pacific Southwest Region, Disciples of Christ
More ECUMENICAL & INTERRELIGIOUS
The Power of Peace, Pilgrim Pines Style
Registration for our Fall Fun for All Event is open!
We need three more volunteer camp nurses this summer; read a powerful testimony from one of our nurses
More OUTDOOR MINISTRIES