October 31, 2014

Our Distinctives

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Continuing Testament, Extravagant Welcome, Transformed Lives

The United Church of Christ sets itself apart from other Christian denominations with its emphasis on the belief that God still speaks to God’s followers today. New light and understanding are constantly being revealed through interpretation of the Bible, says the United Church of Christ.

UCC stresses unity within the church and a unifying spirit to heal divisions. It seeks unity in essentials but allows for diversity in nonessentials, with a charitable attitude toward disagreement. The unity of the church is a gift from God, UCC teaches, yet diversity is to be accepted with love.

Upon completing the scripture readings for the day, our lay readers say “May God help us to find truth and guidance in these words.” We are not Biblical literalists, yet we know that God is present and active through scripture… which each generation needs to define and re-define.

Women are elected to serve in every kind of leadership position in the church…. and they do it quite well!

Our guest worship leader on September 11, 2011 was a Moslem Imam who is committed to interfaith dialogue and partnership.

We gather around an open communion table – where all are welcome to receive the sacrament. We understand that this holy meal is not ours to withhold, but one to share and celebrate with all of God’s children.

We are an open and affirming congregation which means that no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome, accepted, valued here…. this includes LGBT persons who are too often denied full partnership in the church.

We love children! We delight in them even when they aren’t miniature adults behaving perfectly in worship.

We live in the gray area – things are not black and white. You might even say that we live in a rainbow area because we thrive on the questions, wonderment, discussion that comes along with not seeing things as simple or easy to discern.

We won’t tell you how to vote, but we will encourage you to let your faith come through as you become active in the community near and far … and we encourage you to raise your voice for the things that matter to God and you.

We focus on lifelong learning where adult education sessions have recently included: faith journeys of church members; stem cell research; the challenges of forgiveness; going green; capital punishment; Alzheimer’s; discrimination law and the LGBT community; bad girls of the Bible; guest presenters – rabbi, catholic priest, Hindu woman; contemporary parenting; holocaust survivor talking about Israel and Palestine.

Autonomy! We do not have bishops or hierarchies that impose their will upon us or our properties/finances. Our clergy are not appointed, but called by a vote of the members of the church. We celebrate the priesthood of all believers where each person is encouraged to live based on their interpretation of God’s will for their lives.

We are a covenantal church, not a creedal church. We do not require church members to follow a creed. The only profession necessary is love. We rally around a statement of faith and our mission, vision and congregational statements.

Jesus Christ is recognized as fully human and fully God, Son of the Creator, Savior, and Head of the Church.

Peace and justice are our goals. We do not shy away from pursuing these ideals.

We tend to define sin as “opposition or indifference to the will of God” or “forgetting what we know to be God’s dream of living and loving.”

We talk about how important it is to contribute to the health and vitality of the church, but it’s critical that we are active and generous, compassionate and creative in our relationship with the world.