One Sunday morning in 1960, the Episcopal pastor of a 2,500-member parish in suburban Los Angeles told his congregation that he and 70 other members had been “speaking in tongues." At the end of the service, an assistant priest pulled off his vestments and stalked out, saying, “I can no longer work with this man!” Tumult reigned. One man stood on a chair, shouting, “Throw out the damn tongue-speakers!”
Contrary to some expectations, the United Church of Christ convention over the Fourth of July weekend in Atlanta reaffirmed traditional Christian claims and rejected financial divestment tactics against Israel as a way to work for Mideast peace.
As an Episcopalian, I was not entirely sure what to expect at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts conference of the United Church of Christ. When I mentioned my uncertainty to a colleague, he added his own views: “Massachusetts. UCC. That’s the belly of the beast.” He explained: “New England Congregationalism pretty much defines ‘God’s frozen chosen.’”
The United Church of Christ will vote in July on whether to pull invested church money from U.S. companies involved in constructing Israeli settlements and assisting with security measures in Palestinian territories.
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.
The United Church of Christ, a budget-struggling mainline denomination often confused with a similarly named church, felt that only a bold regional and national TV ad campaign costing $1.7 million might rescue it from public anonymity.
NickCarter, an American Baptist minister and administrator, has been named president of Andover Newton Theological School, the nation’s oldest Protestant seminary, effective July 1. Carter succeeds BenjaminGriffin, who is retiring after nine years in the post at the Boston-area seminary.
Taking a cue from the United Methodists and other media-savvy denominations, the United Church of Christ will spend $1.3 million for a trial television ad campaign in six metropolitan areas through Easter in hopes of gaining some visibility.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).