About United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action.  With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world.  The UCC is a church of firsts, a church of extravagant welcome, and a church where "…they may all be one" (John 17:21).

Since 1957, the United Church of Christ has been the church of firsts, weaving God’s message of hope and extravagant welcome with action for justice and peace. Together, we live out our faith in ways that effect change in our communities.  The UCC's many "firsts" mean that we have inherited a tradition of acting upon the demands of our faith.  When we read in Galatians: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus"—a demand is made upon us. And so we were the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American, the first to ordain a woman, the first to ordain an openly gay man, and the first Christian church to affirm the right of same-gender couples to marry. We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and the Civil Rights movement.  Our response to the demands of our faith is woven into the history of our country.



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Let us march forth into Lent.  People ask me what I am giving up for Lent. I usually reply I am not giving up anything.  I think Lent is the time for intimate spiritual growth. A time of reflecting on the brokenness of humanity while embracing God’s love for humanity.  I know many experience this time as solemn, sincere, intense, and severe observance. However, I am afraid people think you can experience this through sad, depressed, and wretchedness.  
I want to push your perspective in this season. We, as collaborators, are allowed to share in expressing God’s love for humanity. As collaborators, we can take a proactive stance in feeding the hungry and understanding those with drug addiction and homelessness. Let me allow the gospel writer Luke to help me say it better.  Luke 4:18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free.
I often wonder why, as believers, we equate seriousness with sad faces and miserable looks. I am thinking of the last few lessons in our lectionary about the Sermon on the Mount. The disciples, the crowd, and even the readers and hearers of today hear scripture reference that we are blessed, salt, and light. And to further eradicate fear, all are instructed that the law and love affect the community. Therefore as we live within the city, our seriousness should reflect gratitude, appreciation, and love of one another. We can be sincere and intense by revealing the respect and admiration we received.  
Perhaps we (believers) fell as the disciples who experience the transfiguration of Jesus? Jesus is not just talking. However, he is revealing himself to humanity. The disciples were not reprimanded. However, they were encouraged. Jesus is revealing himself not only to the disciples but also for all. Perhaps we need to hear Jesus’ word again and get up. We must not confuse the solemnity of Lent with the seriousness of joy--for there is more than one kind of ceremony--and it can include satisfaction. More so, Jesus did something special with the disciples. He touched them. During this Lenten season, you experience the gentle touch of Jesus as you reach to touch others.
This season invites us to solemn observance as we reignite our personal lives by fasting, praying, and studying. Just as we carefully and strategically plan for events in our own lives, like a vacation, wedding, birthday, graduation, the beginning of Lent invites us to make our mind and heart ready for remembering Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. More so, not just remember but live as witnesses of God. The witness of a loving God that kept his promises with humanity despite the ugly affairs of ancient times and as of today. God invites us to collaborate and be witnesses in such a time as this. Enjoy you, Lenten Rebirth.
As you are halfway in Lent, have a 7UP Green Apple Lemonade Spritzer and a St Patty’s 7 Up Cake and march forward on your Lenten Journey.

Pastor Tony Fields, Sr.

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