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|Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time |
September 2, 2012
“Faith” and “works” are not opposed; instead, they are connected. When James speaks of being doers and not just hearers, he’s not talking about earning our salvation. He’s encouraging us to let our lives be wholly transformed by a God who is continually blessing us and calling us to a dramatically different worldview, not shaped by the culture around us but by the word of God. We can choose to respond to God’s generous giving with our own gifts, sharing the abundance we have received with the “orphans and widows” of our own time, and then experience our own lives transformed. Or we can turn quickly from the mirror, satisfied with what we see, and attend to other, “more pressing” things. What will be our response?
“DOERS OF THE WORD”
On Labor Sunday we remember the contributions of workers and lift up their struggles. But what do words like “workers’ struggles” mean to us today? Do we think only of militant laborers from the early 20th century or is there an important, more contemporary interpretation?
Many of the current challenges faced by workers and their families would be familiar to those who struggled against injustices in the past. Unemployment, inadequate paychecks, racial discrimination, unfair treatment on the job, and a skewed sharing of the nation’s wealth block millions of us from the fullness of life that is God’s vision for each person.
The Occupy Movement has pointed out the gravely troubling chasm that separates the 99% from the 1%. Such disparity defies the truth that each of us makes a significant contribution to our country’s wealth. We have different roles—from teacher and mechanic to sales clerk, homemaker, and accountant—but each of our contributions is necessary for our life together. Each of us deserves a fair share of the nation’s wealth.
General Synod has called the United Church of Christ to “reclaim the imperative to share God’s resources equitably and sustainably with all God’s children” and “ensure full employment, dignity on the job, living wages, and sufficient income for everyone.” On this Labor Sunday, let us be “doers of the word, and not merely hearers” (James 1:22). Let us seek to be the beloved community where resources are shared and everyone lives out God’s vision of fullness of life.
Justice and Witness Ministries
United Church of Christ
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 9, 2012
Christians wonder how Jesus can call a desperate mother and her little girl “dogs”—even though things turn out well in the end. Earlier, Jesus had shocked the religious authorities by declaring all foods clean, focusing instead on what lives in our hearts. Now he meets a mother who will not be turned away from the table of God’s grace, even if all she gets is the crumbs that fall to the floor. She uses her wits and wins both the argument and the healing she needs from this foreign teacher from another religion. Borders were crossed and hearts were opened, as Jesus declares all people acceptable, included at the table. Have we opened our tables to all of God’s children? Have we opened our hearts?
OUR WHOLE LIVES CHANGES LIVES
“We would rather learn about sex through our church than through the inaccurate media,” wrote one of the 75 senior high youth after the weekend retreat, whose theme was “Sexuality and Our Faith.” “The church should walk with us on this journey and help involve our families,” is the way another teen-age participant affirmed the event, which was held last fall at Pilgrim Point, the Minnesota UCC Conference camp.
For generations, congregations of many faiths avoided discussing human sexuality, reserving that subject to the family or the school. In all too many cases, however, parents could not find the occasion or the appropriate words to bring up the subject. As for schools, they often narrowed the discussion to a program of abstinence, due to outside pressures.
Along with the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ has developed a human sexuality course of study that teaches the values and information children, youth, and adults can draw upon all of their lives, appropriately entitled Our Whole Lives. Far from feeling excluded, parents welcome the curriculum, and find it an invaluable aid in their role as the primary sexual educators of their children. “This has made such a positive impact on our family in that we’re able to have open and frank discussions about topics that would have otherwise been difficult,” writes one parent. “It’s almost been the third party in our discussions.”
Guided by “Sexuality and Our Faith,” a resource that accompanies Our Whole Lives, the Minnesota retreat, like similar events across the UCC, emphasized religious values of justice and inclusion—subjects that are usually absent from public school courses in human sexuality.
Our Whole Lives changes lives, as one of the Minnesota participants wrote. “Thank you so much for trusting us and challenging our ideas/values about our faith and sexuality.”
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 16, 2012
Who Are You, Jesus?
Many folks love to debate the question of “who Jesus is.” Some have a clear answer about Jesus’ identity and the need to accept him as our Lord and Savior. Others try to explore the mystery of who Jesus was and is in our lives today, focusing on Jesus’ actions in order to understand his identity. Do you find a clear answer more compelling than a mystery? Both have their power in our lives. What we have heard and been taught is important, but so is the encounter we have with Jesus in our lives and in church. In a setting where most people claim to be followers of Christ, perhaps there is a second question: “So what?” So what will we do, today, if we accept Jesus as the Messiah?
GOD’S PROMISE OF NEW LIFE IS POSSIBLE—EVEN IN PRISON
The French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, the guidebooks will tell you, is really two islands in one. Grande Terre is known for its white sand beaches and resorts; Basse-Terre for its mountains, rain forest and waterfalls. What the tourist literature never mentions is that, besides its beautiful scenery, Guadeloupe also has the worst prison in all of France. “Not only is the prison old and rundown,” says Tim Rose, “it is extremely overcrowded.” Tim should know. He serves the Protestant Reformed Church in Guadeloupe and Martinique as the Pastoral Assistant for Diaconal Ministries and as a prison chaplain.
“I have the double responsibility of serving as prison chaplain and also as a social worker,” Tim explains. That means that he not only visits men in the maximum security prison, but also seeks to prepare them to rejoin society upon their release. “Through job-training, spiritual support, family counseling, transitional housing opportunities and acting as a link between the prisoners and the parole board,” he says, “I try to help prisoners create a new life for themselves.”
Obviously the challenges Tim faces are immense. Still, he says, “through listening, prayer and helping prisoners find real solutions to their problems, many have come to realize that God’s promise of new life is possible.”
Tim’s ministry is part of an international partnership between the Global Ministries of our United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and DEFAP, the mission agency of the Reformed and Lutheran Church in France. We support Tim through gifts to Our Church’s Wider Mission.
Twenty-fifty Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 23, 2012
First in Caring
On the long journey toward Jerusalem, understanding does not come easily to the disciples. Later, at Pentecost, they’ll understand, but not now, not yet. Right now, their sights are set much lower, on the “high” places of honor. So Jesus picks up a small child and exhorts his followers to welcome “one such child” in his name as a way to welcome him. Is Jesus appealing to the soft hearts under the tough exteriors of these men? No, instead, the disciples experience one more paradox, one more boat-rocking of the way they think things ought to be. While they want to get to the top, he’s telling them to lay claim to the lowest place, to be the servant of all, to be first in caring for others.
HOLY JOE’S CAFE
In Afghanistan, the officer, an Episcopalian, wished to take communion the evening before his troops went into combat. But the unit’s chaplain, a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor, hesitated to serve the officer because he was from a different denomination. Fortunately, a nearby United Church of Christ chaplain was happy to accommodate the officer, even using the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.
“Hey, Chap, you got a minute?” That’s a question the more than fifty UCC chaplains serving alongside our active duty armed forces hear every day. Our chaplains don’t wait passively for military personnel to seek them out, either. The UCC’s extravagant welcome extends beyond local congregations to the coffee houses, called Holy Joe’s Café, that chaplains have opened on U.S. military bases.
The movement began in 2006, when members of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Wallingford, Connecticut, responded to a call from chaplains for good coffee—which was hard for servicemen and women to find on an American airbase in Iraq. Soon, thanks to the generosity of coffee companies nationwide, and giving from the Connecticut congregation, shipments were on their way to Baghdad. Now hundreds of other UCC congregations support First Congregational’s program, which earned the church one of the Imagine What’s Possible awards at last year’s General Synod.
Holy Joe’s Cafés provide an informal and safe place where UCC chaplains can minister to the needs of personnel in uniform—something we have been called to do since the War of Independence, when Congregational churches provided chaplains for the Continental Army.
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 30, 2012
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
Courage for Community
It’s unusual that a book of the Bible bears the name of a woman; it’s even more unusual that it never mentions the name of God. The Book of Esther is full of irony and intrigue, a thickening plot, evil villains, royal splendor, and, of course, the hero who saves the day. Only this time, the hero is a heroine who rises to the occasion with courage enough to save an entire people. While God’s name is never mentioned in the story, we might read it as a kind of “Where’s Waldo?” exercise: we know God is there even if it isn’t obvious at first glance. Throughout the story God provides and protects. Even in the worst of circumstances, sorrow can be turned to joy.
GROWING AS THE FAMILY OF GOD IN THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE UCC
Since 1970, CAIM, the Council for American Indian Ministry, has coordinated the mission and ministry of our United Church of Christ Native congregations. Today CAIM counts 22 member American Indian churches on the reservations of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and the inner city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
While participating fully in the life of the UCC, CAIM maintains Indian traditions by employing Native values and cultures in order to witness in Indian communities through authentic and postcolonial expressions of the Christian faith.
CAIM congregations confront serious challenges in carrying out their ministries. Some reservation pastors must travel long distances to reach their parishioners, especially if they serve more than one church. The income of most of their members falls far below the poverty level, especially where unemployment rates hover between fifty and ninety percent. Lack of adequate medical services and wholesome food sources on the reservations creates problems for adults as well as children. Furthermore, ministry takes place in an environment where alcoholism, drug addiction, and domestic abuse are prevalent.
Recently, the board of directors launched the CAIM Relatives Program to raise awareness and enlist financial support in the UCC for its member congregations. As Mike Goze, a member of the executive committee, the Ho-Chunk Nation, and the All-Nations United Church of Christ in Minneapolis says, “It is through the mutual care of one another that we can grow as the family of God in the household of the UCC.” We pray for this new initiative, especially on this American Indian Ministry Sunday.
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 7, 2012
In response to a legalistic, adversarial question from the Pharisees about divorce, Jesus lifts up the ideal of the deep spiritual bond of marriage. Is it possible, in the church, also to lift up the ideal, the intention of God from the very beginning, of two people joined together for life, faithfully loving each other, without inflicting guilt on those who have not “succeeded” at marriage, those who have had to end a marriage in order to seek wholeness and healing? If salvation is about healing and wholeness, then the possibility of remarriage seems not only a matter of compassion but also a question of justice. Perhaps a preoccupation with the law may distract us from the very grace that we need.
NEIGHBORS IN NEED: FINDING A VOICE FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE
In 2010, Just Economics in Ashville, North Carolina, was awarded a Neighbors in Need grant for their Economic Justice program entitled “Voices.” “Voices” is an eight-week leadership training program designed to help low-income people become advocates for themselves and others.
Executive Director, Vicki Meath, points to this story of a student advocate named Bea to show why JE works tirelessly to end economic injustice: “Bea moved to Asheville with a very young son to escape a dangerous domestic violence situation. Bea often felt very alone and vulnerable; sometimes they stayed at the Salvation Army, other times they slept in a doorway or under a bridge. Eventually Bea moved into a public housing development.
‘She joined a Voices class in 2010. Bea learned about community organizing and the slow road toward creating systematic change, but she felt like if she was not part of working for change, she did not have a right to complain about what was wrong. Soon, Bea found herself addressing Asheville City Council members when they discussed living wages for City contractors. She spoke eloquently during the public comment period about extending the living wage requirement to workers on City contracts. That night, the City Council approved the measure! Bea continues to find her voice.”
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the US. One-third of NIN dollars support the Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. Please help people like Bea find their voices with your generous gift to NIN.
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 14, 2012
What Must I Do?
The rich man seems nagged by a deep inner sense that something isn’t quite right with his life, even though he has done what was expected of him as a faithful and observant Jew. However, he’s struggling with a deep hunger for something more to life than doing what is expected of him. Today we might call him a “seeker,” but we assume that most seekers have not been paying much attention to religious laws and requirements. But what if there are many people in our pews, and even among our church leaders, who sense that there is something “more” than just doing what’s expected of them? What if church-going Christians still feel a deep need for transformation in their lives, still hunger for grace?
WHAT WE MUST DO
Jesus will come again. Those words, embedded in the Church’s ancient creeds, have been repeated by Christians for centuries. And, for almost as long, prophets of doom have exploited them to preach that the world cannot be saved. And never more than today, when they declare that there is no need to care about global climate change because we are entering the end time.
Most of us in the United Church of Christ, however, have not abandoned the world to an apocalyptic fate. When we commit ourselves to discern and celebrate the present and coming reign of God, it is not in order to avoid responsibility for the environment. Rather, we embrace our God-given and God-driven obligation to preserve and protect it. And most of us do our best, recycling what we can, limiting our consumption of depleted resources, and trying to reduce our carbon footprints.
Many of the threats to our natural environment, however, seem too powerful for us to control. But at least one of those menaces, greenhouse gas emissions—which cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars in health care costs every year—can be regulated. That’s what the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2007. And that’s what the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, can do under the authority of the Clean Air Act, passed way back in the Nixon years.
As the church that first documented the disproportionate dumping of toxic waste near poor communities of color, the UCC is known for our ministries of environmental justice. Empowered by prayers and giving, and working with our representatives in Congress, we can help control greenhouse gas emissions.
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 21, 2012
Three times Jesus has told the disciples that he is going to die, and each time they miss his point entirely. Their religious imaginations have failed them: their vision is not of a whole new world and a whole new way (the reign of God), but of simply putting the right people (Jesus, and themselves) in the positions of power. It’s no accident, then, that this part of Mark’s Gospel is framed by two stories of blind men whose sight is restored. While the disciples speak of glory, Jesus speaks of service. Their struggle long ago is a struggle for us today, as we try to imagine a world that reflects Jesus’ own dream, the dream of God.
IMMOKALEE MEANS JUSTICE
It all started where movements for social change often begin—in a church. “We began organizing in 1993 as a small group of workers meeting weekly in a room borrowed from a local church to discuss how to better our community and our lives.” From such modest beginnings arose the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), which now represents more than 30,000 largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian farm workers in the tomato fields of Florida.
For almost a decade, CIW concentrated its efforts on the tomato growers. But the workers’ incomes remained below the poverty level and the conditions in the fields didn’t improve. So, in 2001, the coalition launched a boycott of Taco Bell, seeking a penny-a-pound increase for the farm workers. A General Synod resolution made the United Church of Christ the first denomination to endorse the coalition’s Campaign for Fair Food. In 2005, Taco Bell’s parent company agreed to all of CIW’s demands, including a Code of Conduct prohibiting worker abuse. Fast food giants McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway eventually followed suit. Those victories brought the Florida tomato growers themselves around, and in 2010 they agreed to the workers’ demands.
While celebrating the dawn of the new day, CIW is now training the tomato workers throughout the Sunshine State on their new rights contained in the Code of Conduct. But the Campaign for Fair Food still has work to do. Major supermarket chains have yet to agree to the terms that the growers and fast food industry have accepted. And so the churches still stand with CIW. At last year’s General Synod in Tampa, over four hundred delegates and visitors joined hands across the street from one of the holdouts to demonstrate our support for the farm workers.
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Reformation Sunday)
October 28, 2012
Jesus and his disciples are approaching Jericho and the end of their travels, Jerusalem. The disciples have been busy figuring out where they want to sit when their dreams of triumph are realized. Just then, a blind beggar by the side of the road instantly recognizes Jesus for who he is. Despite the crowds that try to hush him, Bartimaeus cries out and refuses to let others speak for him. Bartimaeus is the ideal disciple, with faith in Jesus’ will for good for him, faith in God’s mercies, and courage enough to speak out and risk everything. This outsider shows the insiders what true discipleship looks like, and instead of going on his own way, he follows Jesus on the way to Jerusalem.
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
The Church in Rome was right: the Protestant Reformation would lead inevitably to the splintering of Christendom into a thousand denominations. For all their differences, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli each strove mightily, though unsuccessfully, to prevent it from happening. Each one of them sought to silence those Protestants who dissented from his new orthodoxy. And they did not hesitate to mobilize the force of government to suppress what they considered to be the heresies committed by people they labeled “radicals.”
Still, divisions—schisms—frequently occurred. How could it have been otherwise once each Christian was allowed to interpret scripture alone?
It did not occur to the Reformers that dissent and diversity could fortify the faith of the community, or that separating church and state might even strengthen religious institutions.
For much of American history, Christian churches sponsored academies and colleges in order to propagate and protect their particular beliefs and practices. And even today, many churches refuse to be inclusive of various readings of the Bible.
But in the United Church of Christ we have carried the Reformation insight to its logical conclusion: no human authority can overrule any believer’s reading of scripture. And our academies and colleges, far from imposing one viewpoint, are inclusive of many perspectives.
We celebrate our unity in diversity, especially on this Reformation anniversary, which happens to correspond with Higher Education Sunday.
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 4, 2012
Ruth 1:1-8 or Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Wherever You Go
Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth are nobodies once their husbands die, and the system collapses for them. They have to resort to last resorts, but Ruth, refuses to take that path, literally. Ruth’s familiar but stunning declaration of covenant commitment puts many marriages, both contemporary and historical, to shame: she promises lifelong faithfulness and care to this bitter old woman. Ruth puts Naomi’s needs first, and promises to make a life with her in a strange land that holds the promises of a God she does not know. “Your God will be my God,” she says, and God responds by making her the foremother of David and, in faith, of each of us. No wonder that Ruth’s name means “Beloved”!
“THE SPIRIT OF RELIGION AND THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM”
In 1831, a French nobleman named Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States, ostensibly to study our prisons and penitentiaries. But his purview soon broadened to include almost every aspect of American society, including religion. Indeed, as Tocqueville wrote in his classic, Democracy in America, “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention.”
What interested Tocqueville were “the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.”
Tocqueville arrived in the midst of Andrew Jackson’s first term as president, a period when the right to vote was expanded to include almost all adult white males, something never seen anywhere in Europe. Tocqueville found it remarkable that religion in the United States had significantly contributed to the widening of democracy. But, given the history of this country, Tocqueville believed it could not have been otherwise. America’s first European settlers brought with them “a form of Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a democratic and republican religion,” he observed. “Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”
During this election year we have heard a great deal about the influence of religion on politics, much of it bad. It is well, then, to be reminded instead of what a remarkable French visitor said on the subject long ago.
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 11, 2012
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
Risk and Restoration
Each day, Ruth provides for Naomi by “gleaning” the grain left in the field by the harvesters. Naomi has started to hope again, and focuses on improving Ruth’s situation, sending her off to meet her kinsman Boaz. The happiness of the birth of their child is followed by still another surprise: the baby will be the grandfather of the great King David. The two women relied on each other and became, as Martin Copenhaver puts it, “safe harbor” for each other. How many women and children (“the widow and orphan”) are living on the edge of survival today? Aren’t women and children today often required to take the leftovers in the field? Are our churches “safe harbor” for those in need?
WE SHALL COME REJOICING
“Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.” Knowles Shaw (1874)
In older times (some say better times)—times when most Americans lived on farms—churchgoers gladly made their pledges in kind: the produce of their gardens and orchards, pigpens and smokehouses. Whatever their offering, members came rejoicing—not only for the bounty God had provided, but for the opportunity to share it with God’s church. And they didn’t hold back; our forebears were as generous in their giving as in their thanksgiving.
Somehow, in the transition from a barter to a cash economy, from a rural to an urban society, something was lost. Offerings of home-cured bacon and fresh-churned butter were personal gifts in which people took great pride: God’s church deserved their very best. But, on the other hand, giving money seemed as artificial as the commercial marketplaces where it was exchanged. How could a dollar ever reflect the same devotion, the same labor, as a batch of home-canned preserves?
In our cash and credit economy, is it any wonder that the Sunday offering has almost become an after-thought—a brief pause in the worship service before the final hymn and benediction? How then can we recapture the sense of connection between the gift, the giver, and God’s church? How can we renew the joy of giving and thereby revitalize our Sunday offering? Questions that merit prayerful reflection on this Stewardship Sunday, which falls in the season of harvest, when farmers are bringing in the sheaves.
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 18, 2012
1 Samuel 1:4-20
Praise the Holy One
This week’s story is about Samuel’s remarkable mother, Hannah. Like Sarah before her and Elizabeth much later, Hannah is “barren,” putting her, in a patriarchal society, even more at the mercy of a man. We eavesdrop as Hannah prays, pouring out her need and her pain, and making a promise to turn her son over to the house of God. The fulfillment and future that Hannah experiences is also the fulfillment and future of Israel itself, and of the people of faith who walk in their footsteps. What if we examined our spiritual practice each day, and the worship we share in our congregations, and searched for the places where our prayer springs from our deepest need and a profound trust that God hears our prayers and will respond?
Thanksgiving occupies a profoundly unique place among our holidays. While it is thoroughly American, it isn’t patriotic. And while it is essentially Christian, it isn’t sectarian.
Thanksgiving is Christian not only because the Pilgrims set aside the day in order to give thanks to God for their first harvest. But also because they understood that the Kingdom of God, which they intended to model in the New World, is like a banquet. And Jesus had made it clear that when you give a dinner party everyone is to be invited.
In the English and Dutch societies where the Pilgrims had come from, everyone else looked pretty much like them. But at Plymouth they encountered people of color, the Wampanoag Indians. Still, that didn’t make any difference to the Pilgrims. And so they invited them to the Thanksgiving feast.
That’s what makes Thanksgiving so American. It’s inclusive. When the Congress of the new nation adopted the motto, e pluribus unum, in 1782, they were not so much expressing a hope as stating a fact. For, from the very beginning, we have been a diverse people.
Today all Americans, of course, revere the Pilgrims—especially during the fourth week in November. But we in the United Church of Christ have a special bond with the pioneers who came over here on the Mayflower. So we especially owe it to them, our forebears, to make sure that the welcome to the Thanksgiving table is always extravagant and inclusive.
Reign of Christ
November 25, 2012
A Wise Reign
Pilate wields the power of soldiers and weapons to protect what Rome has taken from others. The trappings of power reassure him, but how does he respond to the “threat” from a healer-prophet who doesn’t have that kind of kingdom to protect? Jesus’ power comes from God. We might wonder how the “not-of-this-world” reign of Jesus Christ relates to the very-much-of-this-world situation in which we live, where some of us have way too much while too many have way too little. Good Friday continues to be experienced by many today, by hungry children, people without health insurance, homeless people in winter, refugees without a homeland, and women afraid in their own homes. How do we live in this world, so that the world knows Christ is our King?
SUPPORTING YOUNG ADULTS IN MISSION
The Gospels are short on vital statistics, but we can safely assume that the women and men whom Jesus commissioned to spread the Word to the ends of the earth were young. And we know for sure that young men and women have answered the call to God’s mission ever since.
Mission is a life-changing experience for everyone—but especially for young adults. “My faith grew as I had to open myself up to worshiping not only in other languages, but with a spirit of unity, when traditions were different from my own,” says Carla, a former volunteer.
Some young women and men who would “open themselves up” to God’s people in other lands and cultures need tangible encouragement and help to make a commitment to missionary service. That’s why we in the United Church of Christ, along with our partners in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), have established the Global Ministries Endowment to Support Young Adults Engaged in Mission. Thanks to the generous gifts of donors from both denominations, this Fund ensures that young adults have opportunities to connect with the global church. Distributions from the Endowment provide mission opportunities for young adults to serve as Global Mission Interns, short- and long-term volunteers, as well as overseas travel opportunities and participation in events related to the advocacy efforts of our Global Ministries.
“I was deeply inspired by the local pastors and church leaders I partnered with in Sri Lanka,” says former intern, Diane. “I hope that I can follow their example of courage, compassion and faith in my own work.” We give thanks for this new Endowment, and the young women and men it empowers for mission.
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