Tag Archives: Mennonite

A word from the Conventions: UCC, Mennonite, NOW, ELCA

The United Church of Christ General Synod convened in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday, June 26, and will adjourn on Tuesday, June 30th. The 27th synod is graced with 3,500 attendees. Here are a few highlights, so far.

Trinity UCC in Chicago made headlines last year as the home church of Barack Obama and fiery Pastor Jerome Wright. Pastor Wright has retired, but the church was represented by Pastor Otis Moss III who delivered an impassioned sermon to the gathered on Friday night.

God says I am the Alpha and the Omega, COMMA, who is, COMMA, and who was, COMMA, and who is to come, COMMA.

In a mind-jolting, three-minute recitation of the history of Christianity, Moss shouted a COMMA between each event, all the way through to the 1957 creation of the United Church of Christ and the presence of John Thomas as General Minister, who introduced him Friday night.

Don’t get angry with the haters, the Rush Limbaughs. Next time you hear them, just say, ‘COMMA!’ When you see Dick Cheney, just say, ‘COMMA!’ Remember, there used to be a period on Pennsylvania Avenue. At Calvary, death wanted to place a period, but Jesus got up on Sunday morning. ‘COMMA!’

Official actions of the synod will include the election of a General Minister and President of the UCC, Conversations on Race (a theme introduced by outgoing General Minister John Thomas within the last year) consisting of various workshops and discussion centers, seventy new UCC congregations were highlighted and celebrated, journalists Eugene Robinson and Ray Suarez addressed the assembled, all punctuated with commas, shouts, singing, and dancing.

Daily digests of synod happenings are available at the UCC website.

As the UCC General Assembly closes on the 30th, the Mennonite Convention 2009 convenes in Columbus, Ohio and will run through July 5th. The theme is “Breathe and be Filled,” and a Youtube video provides the anticipation.

Daily happenings can be followed at the Mennonite USA website.

Meanwhile, at the National Organization for Women (NOW) convention that adjourned a week ago, a new leadership slate was chosen. Terri O’Neill’s team, which takes office July 21, includes Bonnie Grabenhofer of Illinois as Executive Vice President, Erin Matson of Minnesota as Action Vice President, and Allendra Letsome of Maryland as Membership Vice President.

Finally, many ELCA congregations nationwide are answering the Presiding Bishop’s call for 50 days of prayer in anticipation of the Churchwide Assembly that will convene in Mpls on August 17th. The much anticipated assembly will deal with major resolutions regarding LGBT issues including gay clergy and same-gender marriage.

I plan to be present at the assembly to provide live-blogging updates.

Quick check of denominational news

This blog contains a page (see the sidebar) called From Headquarters that contains RSS feeds downloaded from the official websites of progressive denominations or religious organizations. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of an RSS feed, it is a subscription to real-time updates of the latest entries from a website or blog. The feed is typically a headline that a reader can click on for the whole story.

Here’s a sampling of the headlines that appear as this post is being written.

From the Alliance of Baptists website, we see the headline “Being Ecumenical” which is a clickable link to the full story that starts with the following paragraph:

During my initial involvement as a representative of the Alliance of Baptists at the National Council of Churches, I grew to realize that all I need to know about ecumenism, I learned in Hurdle Mills, N.C. — not from my home church, but from the farming community in which I was nurtured.

Here’s another. From the official website of the ELCA, we see the headline, “Lutherans Open their Church Doors to Immigrant Families”, which clicks to the following opening paragraph from the ELCA news service article,

CHICAGO (ELCA) — For Howard Lamont being welcoming to the immigrant population is “simply part of the Christian message.”

And another. From the Mennonite Church USA comes the headline, ” Mennonite Church USA Convention 2.0″, and the clickable link takes the reader to a news release of instructions for following their general convention online.

NEWTON, Kan. — Mennonite Church USA Convention 2009 will take place in Columbus, Ohio, June 30 to July 5, but people who don’t make the trip physically can still experience convention on the Internet like never before.

And finally, one more. From the Action Center for Reform Judaism comes the headline, “At Interfaith Service, Saperstein Stresses Urgent Need for Health Care Reform”, and the link will take the reader to the full article about the comments of Rabbi Saperstein.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2009 – At today’s Interfaith Service of Witness and Prayer for health care reform, sponsored by more than 40 national faith organizations and religious denominations, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, spoke of the pressing need for health care for all and encouraged our nation’s leaders to pass health care reform legislation this year.

So, the point is that this page of headlines From Headquarters is a quick and easy way to see what’s up as reported by various religious organizations. I hope you find this tool to be handy and helpful.