Geoffrey Black has completed his first year as president of the United Church of Christ at a time when the UCC has been emphasizing youth and technology as well as theology and social justice. Like many mainline denominations, the UCC’s membership has continued to decline in numbers. Black is the second African American to lead the UCC.
When it comes to volatile political issues, the United Church of Christ is not often content simply to issue statements.
Its new general minister and president, Geoffrey A. Black, delivered 17,000 petition signatures this fall to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that urged health-care reform—including coverage for all and access regardless of ability to pay.
Joining protest with prayer, the head of the United Church of Christ was arrested October 10 outside the White House while attempting to deliver to President Bush a pastoral letter condemning the Iraq war.
Nearly a year after the 4,300-member Cathedral of Hope in Dallas voted to seek affiliation with the United Church of Christ, the gay congregation was admitted to membership October 29 by a regional association of the liberal denomination.
In a series of nationwide protests, a number of religious leaders have risked arrest by partaking in acts of civil disobedience in an effort to inspire a mass mobilization of people of faith against the Iraq war. Among those arrested in September protests in front of the White House was James Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodists’ General Board of Church and Society.
As of July, say Yale University officials, the congregation at Battell Chapel on campus will no longer be affiliated with the United Church of Christ, one of the denominations stemming from historic Congregationalism.
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