By The Rev. Jim Antal
Minister & President
Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
An inspiring pastor shared that she has been working with an interfaith coalition in her city and they will be hosting an interfaith 9-11 service to be held in a downtown park in their city. She notes that while many faiths are committed to this service and will be represented in leading the service, there is only one faith group who are concerned for their safety. Thanks be to God for the courage of our Muslim sisters and brothers who are willing to share in such a public witness to what our faiths have in common. Thanks be to God for the initiative of the United Church of Christ to work in such interfaith contexts to change the narrative of what our country too often hears about 9-11.
MACUCC pastor Paul Adkins indicated that over the years, the sermon that has gotten the most response was “Is Jesus the Only Way.” What would it be like if every pastor were challenged to preach a sermon that wrestles with that question? What would happen if the UCC had a campaign for a particular Sunday to have ALL our pastors serving our 5,000+ churches preach their reflections on that question? What powerful testimony that would offer to a world in which the Christian faith is promoted as an exclusivist religion. This would be an action that could begin to fulfill one of the “big holy audacious goals” General Minister and President Geoffrey Black lifted up at MACUCC Annual Meeting and will (likely) lift up at Synod.
The Mass. Conference UCC Interfaith-Ecumenism Commission has been working to resource congregations in preparation for the 10th anniversary of 9-11 on Sunday, September 11, 2011. We have assembled a wide variety of resources available here:
We are asking UCC members in Mass. to make the following commitment:
I commit to be four for four as we prepare to mark 9-11:
- daily prayer discipline
- read a book on Islam, peace-building, etc
- initiate a relationship with a local interfaith neighbor
- participate/design a worship service for peace post-9-11
The national setting has some excellent information here:
Global Ministries has information here:
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, ...