Dear UCC Members, Colleagues and Friends,
Two features from this morning’s news are deeply connected to the bold leadership which our Conference of churches - the Mass Conference UCC - has shown over the past 30 years.
The dominant news story this morning is President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. Click here for the link to the NY Times story. This will remain a story of critical importance at least through the November election. While Obama cited being a Christian as one motivation for his position, all the news coverage I have heard suggests that Christianity opposes same-sex marriage.
Obama is a Christian because he discovered that Trinity UCC in Chicago was changing lives as much as any institution in the city. After learning more about Christianity from worshiping and participating at Trinity, Obama became a Christian and a UCC member. So it’s no wonder that in announcing his endorsement of same-sex marriage, Obama would cite his Christian faith as a basis.
As most of you know, our Massachusetts Conference led the United Church of Christ by voting in 1984 to become an Open and Affirming Conference. Today – that story of courage and leadership needs to be told. Click here to learn more about LGBT resources from the Mass Conference and the UCC.
And that story leads to a broader message that we – all 70,000+ UCC members in Massachusetts – need to articulate: One of the most distinctive features of Jesus’ life is his profound testimony and witness to God’s inclusive love. Today and in the coming months, I hope that each of us will find ways to speak out on behalf of Jesus – a Savior whose inclusive love we seek to affirm. Now is the moment to take Christianity back from the media’s misguided assumptions about what Christians think.
The other news feature is climate scientist James Hansen’s Op Ed piece in today’s NY Times, “Game Over for the Climate.” At our Annual Meeting in 2009, our Conference became the first church body in America to pass a resolution calling upon our elected leaders to commit to policies that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to below 350ppm. Click here for the resolution. In contrast with the national media, who continue to feature politicians and others who claim that because they are Christians, they believe Global warming is a farce (Click here to read about Congressman Shimkus), the Mass Conference continues to lead a religious witness urging the adoption of new laws to protect the earth.
As UCC members – and particularly as members of the Mass. Conference – we have two stories that need to be told in the public square…. today, tomorrow, and persistently in the months (and years) ahead. Leave your comment below and join the discussion.
God’s blessing upon all the ways you minister in Christ’s name,
Minister & President
Massachusetts Conference, UCC
Additional Note from Jim Antal - May 11, 2012:
The same day as this blog, an MACUCC pastor shared the following excerpt from Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail – written almost 50 years ago. It’s as true today as it was then – and as applicable to same-sex marriage and climate change as it was to the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s.
Jim Antal is a denominational leader, activist and public theologian. He led the 360 churches of the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ from 2006 to his retirement in 2018. An environmental activist from the first Earth Day in 1970, ...