WELCOME TO THE BWF SYNOD NEWS PAGE

The UCC General Synod - July 1-5 in Atlanta, GA - is and will be getting substantial media attention due to a number of divisive issues.  Here are some recent news accounts of interest.  As the meeting progresses, we will be adding other news coverage links as well as our own reports and hopefully some pictures.

Denomination debates declaration of Jesus' divinity

Calvin Synod Concerned Over Equal Marriage Resolution 
 
Conference Ministers Support "Toxic Resolution"

UCC to Debate Marriage

BWF Quoted: 'UCC Leaders Pushing Counterfeit Christianity

 

UCC RENEWAL LEADER CALLS FOR UCC PRESIDENTS RESIGNATION

Given President John Thomas decision to reject the foundational covenant of marriage as instituted by Almighty God, the covenant from which all other human covenants derive,  and which is the very image of the relationship between the church and Jesus Christ, we call on him to resign from his position with the United Church of Christ. Dr. Thomas in his statement of June 28, 2005 says, I believe that the General Synod should affirm the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to have their covenanted relationship recognized by the state as marriages equal in name privileges, and responsibilities to married heterosexual couples. I believe that our local churches as they are able, should move toward the development of marriage equality policies so that the same liturgical and pastoral blessing and discipline may be offered all entering into covenanted relationships.

God is still speaking, but it is an unprecedented arrogance for Dr. Thomas to speak as and for God on such a primary reality of revelation. He now no longer enjoys the credibility to continue as a religious leader of a  Christian church. The implications are staggering. Marriage is the ordained human covenant from which all other covenants including the identity of the Christian Church derive. His declaration means that all covenants including all those which connect churches and persons within the UCC are now wide open to whatever interpretation suits ones need for personal validation and fulfillment. Moreover by including bi-sexual in his list of possibilities he obviously intends and says that marriage should be extended to covenants including more than two persons. We are deeply dismayed and saddened by this further erosion of the integrity, unity and authenticity of our church.

 
   

UCC DECLARES JESUS IS LORD, AFFIRMS CROSS TRIUMPHANT AS SYMBOL

July 4 ATLANTA, GA - In a remarkable dichotomy with its decision on marriage, the UCC today strongly affirmed Jesus as Lord and the cross triumphant (the crown, cross, orb and motto) as our symbol of identity. In response to two resolutions put forward by BWF and Evangelical UCC Churches around the country, a combined resolution "REAFFIRMING JESUS CHRIST AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AND REAFFIRMING OUR HISTORIC UCC CROSS, CROWN & ORB WITH MOTTO SYMBOL" was passed by the Synod. This is a strong three-page document which we will publish in its entirety. It states in part,

"While the UCC has always been a theologically diverse community, our diversity has a center - Jesus Christ, in whom God became a human being, who lived and died and rose again from the dead, who is both human and divine. This center is not merely a theological opinion or standpoint but is inherent in the UCC's identity".

"Therefore be it resolved that the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, celebrates and reaffirms our Church's faith in Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, whose true humanity and divinity are declared in our Constitution, our liturgies, our hymnals, and our ecumenical commitments"

"Be it further resolved that the 25th General Synod reaffirms the historic UCC Cross, Crown, Orb and Motto symbol, and strongly commends its continued use in publications, periodicals, letterheads, websites, videos, display advertising and other visual means of communication produced by all settings of the Church"

And, "Be it finally resolved that the 25th General Synod encourages all who proclaim the Sovereignty of Jesus in their words to discern the implications of that proclamation for the way they live their lives."

While BWF has directly authored and sponsored (through local churches) six resolutions over the last five Synods and this is the third to pass, this is the strongest victory we have yet achieved. We have clearly redefined the theological conversation and moved it in an evangelical direction. Unfortunately it may be too little, too late, as the denomination seems bent on division and continued fragmentation.
 
 
RENEWAL GROUP REACTS TO UCC GAY MARRIAGE DECISION
TRAGIC DAY FOR THE UCC
 
The following statement was released by Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director of the Biblical Witness Fellowship, the largest renewal in the United Church of Christ. 
 
 
On July 4th in Atlanta, Ga., the United Church of Christ tragically declared independence from the Ecumenical Christian Church worldwide, and the truth of God's Word. God is still speaking, but the General Synod of the UCC by passing the Resolution in Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All, has arrogantly supposed to speak for God. Marriage between one man and one woman is a reality established by God in creation and reflected in the church itself. This resolution does not validate same sex relationships but only invalidates and de-legitimizes the UCC as a religious body. This decision will force many congregations to disassociate and will cause the further decline of this historic denomination that is already a loss leader among protestants. Today the UCC has abandoned its commitment to its motto "that all may be one". We are deeply saddened by this tragic day in the history of our church that once had a faithful witness for Jesus Christ.
 
To contact us at the Synod meeting in Atlanta, Ga Call 603 - 490 - 2679, or 603 674 9768
 
Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director, Biblical Witness Fellowship, the largest historic renewal movement in the UCC, Rev. Dr. William Boylan, spokesperson to the marriage resolutions, Elizabeth Claver, Assoc. Dir. BWF.
 
   
APOLOGY TO OUR JEWISH FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
FOR THE ACTION OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Contact:
Rev. David Runnion-Bareford,  Executive Director, Biblical Witness Fellowship
1-800-494-9172  (office)  or   603-490-2679 (cell phone) 
 
Biblical Witness Fellowship
P.O. Box 102
Candia, NH  03034
 
The following statement of apology has been issued by Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director of Biblical Witness Fellowship, the largest renewal group within the United Church of Christ. Recent studies by the UCC indicate that 26% of the membership of the UCC share our strongly evangelical perspective. The UCC ended its biennial national meeting on July 5.
 
CANDIA, NH -- On behalf of the many thousands of United Church of Christ members who opposed any action by the United Church of Christ against Israel at the 25th General Synod in Atlanta, we apologize to our Jewish friends and neighbors both here and in Israel for the action of our Synod and leaders.
 
We recognize that the two resolutions passed by the Synod, one calling for divestment and the other for Israel to "Tear Down the Wall," create a deepened liability to the safety of our Jewish friends. The resolutions as they were proposed and debated openly equated the only democracy in the mid-east region with the apartheid regime in South Africa and the murderous, enslaving tyranny of Soviet communism. Such comparisons can only serve to encourage anti-semitism and give comfort to those terrrorists who have criminally murdered over 1000 Israeli citizens and maimed over 7000 using teenagers and women as homicide bombers.
 
We recognize with sorrow and deep concern that these misguided actions by the United Church of Christ in General Synod 25 violate our commitment to peace and justice. Indeed they seriously threaten the relationship between Christians and Jews that has evolved since the horror of the holocaust. We must never forget that some of our theological as well as historic roots are in the liberal church of Germany that abdicated responsibility when faced with history once before.