Renewing the United Church of Christ
Why We Stay
(Article reprinted from Witness)
“My purpose for writing you today is to find out why you continue to
be affiliated with the denomination? The BWF came up in discussion
this past Sunday and I promised some of the elders I would write on
their behalf to find out, “What it is that causes you to stick in
there and fight?”
Typical of many inquiries by letter, e-mail and phone.
A: Our reasons for remaining both faithful and confident in God’s call to reformation and renewal in the UCC include the following:
1) The UCC is the frontline of an ideological conflict which will impact every family and child in America. The OWL (Our Whole Lives) sexuality curriculum for instance which is what is meant by whole life sex education in the SIECUS letter you refer to is intended for use in the public schools. The UCC gives religious dress and respectability to a pervasive political and ideological effort to sexualize the next generation of children, redefine marriage and destabilize the family as a the central unit of society. If we withdraw here, where will we stand?
2) The 6000 historic UCC congregations often stand at the very center of their communities and are the founding churches of their towns and villages. The spiritual state of these congregations will determine and influence the spiritual state of these communities. No new church start from the outside will ever change and transform the community in the same way as the renewal of the heart church of that location. This is especially true in New England where our UCC churches hold 1100 village and town centers across a 6 state region, and consequently, we are a spiritually impoverished region.
3) There are a core of believing and faithful Christians in EVERY UCC church we have ever had contact with. This indicates to us that the Holy Spirit is not yet finished.
4) There is such an acute shortage of Pastoral leadership and such a hunger for spiritual truth in the UCC that 1 in every 5 UCC congregations now looks to BWF for help in locating a Godly Pastor.
5) There are now more missionaries connected with the Missions Renewal Network ministry of the BWF than there are part and full time mission personnel funded by the UCC.
6) It is clear that the UCC is now in a transition period of fragmentation. BWF has the best potential for assisting churches in the stay/leave decision, locating and placing Godly pastors, and maintaining the Mission Renewal Network that preserves and sustains the vision of our historic American Board of Commissioners for World Mission.
It is my conviction that when the UCC and the other mainline denominations fragment that those who have had the clearest witness will have a role to play much as we saw happen in the sudden fragmentation of the Soviet Union.
Feel free to print and distribute this response.
Please keep us in your prayers,
BWF Executive Director