The national office of the United Church of Christ is raising $120,000 ($82,600 raised as of March 31, 12:00 noon) to run a full-page ad in Wednesday’s edition of the New York Times. The ad is a response to the furor generated by the widely-broadcast video clips of sermons preached at Trinity United Church of Christ by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But more importantly, the ad attempts to use this “moment in the spotlight” to tell the story of the United Church of Christ in our own words.
We are a church of open ideas, extravagant welcome and evangelical courage.
Open ideas require open minds, or at least minds willing to listen, not minds quick to judge or to censure. And an extravagant welcome means that all kinds of different people with all kinds of different ideas and all kinds of different ways of expressing those ideas are going to be a part of our church. And evangelical courage means we will speak out even when it is risky … for the sake of sharing good news with people who need good news.
The ad makes it clear that we in the UCC are not outsiders; our church’s history is inextricably intertwined with our nation’s history.
Our story is this nationâ€™s story. We are the people of the Mayï¬‚ower. More than 600 of our 5,700 congregations were formed before 1776. Eleven signers of the Declaration of Independence were members of UCC predecessor bodies.
And the ad affirms what it is that holds us together: not any particular theological stance or political ideology, but Jesus, only Jesus! So we embrace Jeremiah Wright as one of us, not because we agree with everything he says or how he says it, but because he too is a servant of Jesus Christ … and we honor one another for the sake of Christ!
Our unity is not dependent upon uniform agreement, but in our shared allegiance to Jesus Christ. Ours is a risk-taking church, because ours is a risk-taking God.
You can see the entire ad here.