The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
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.
During a weeklong visit to Africa in March, Pope Benedict XVI told journalists accompanying him on the papal plane to Cameroon that making condoms widely available “increased the problem” of AIDS. The remark, similar to the Vatican’s longstanding emphasis on sexual abstinence, revived controversy over how best to stem the global AIDS epidemic that has devastated sub-Saharan Africa.
The supervisor of New York congregations for the United Church of Christ has been nominated to become the denomination’s next general minister and president. Geoffrey Black is expected to be presented to the UCC General Synod this summer as successor to John H. Thomas, who has served since 1999 and is not eligible for reelection.
In letters sent on successive days, the Internal Revenue Service said it concluded that neither the United Church of Christ, whose national convention heard Barack Obama speak, nor a Southern Baptist pastor, who publicly backed Mike Huckabee, violated tax-exemption provisions prohibiting political endorsements by churches.
In a unanimous voice vote, the 90-member Executive Council of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution April 14 supporting Trinity UCC in Chicago and its recently retired senior minister Jeremiah Wright, whose videotaped, politically charged comments stirred sustained criticism of the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama, a longtime member of the congregation.
The United Church of Christ has retained a former U.S. solicitor general to represent the church during an Internal Revenue Service investigation of its political activities. Seth P. Waxman, who represented the U.S. government before the Supreme Court from 1997 to 2001, will lead a team of attorneys working on behalf of the 1.2-million-member denomination, according to the UCC.