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Local Church Ministries launches revised church grant process

United Church of Christ - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 6:00am

After an extensive collaboration with key leaders across the United Church of Christ to examine how faith communities are formed and planted, the denomination is ready to begin funding ministries that align with its vision of creating a just world for all.

June 4, 2017: Day of Pentecost (Year A)

Lectionary Readings - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 1:00am
Acts 2:1-21 or Numbers 11:24-30 * Psalm 104:24-34, 35b * 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 or Acts 2:1-21 * John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39

Learning New Languages

UCC Daily Devotional - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 11:00pm

Emily C. Heath

Every year on Pentecost Sunday I get the feeling that the church misses the point.

Two General Synod resolutions take aim at economic inequality

United Church of Christ - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 2:25pm

The U.S. economy has essentially recovered from the recession of a decade ago, but not everyone in the country has enjoyed similar levels of prosperity. Two resolutions to the 31st General Synod of the United Church of Christ will address that issue by calling for steps aimed at creating a just economy with living wages.

May 31, 2017: Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Year A)

Lectionary Readings - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 1:00am
1 Samuel 2:1-10 * Psalm 113 * Romans 12:9-16b * Luke 1:39-57

Shikata Ga Nai

UCC Daily Devotional - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:00pm

Molly Baskette

There is always something that can be done, especially by those with privilege. 

'Be the Church' planning and assessment guide built to support mission, vitality

United Church of Christ - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 1:00pm

Building your congregation's mission around ways to "Be the Church" just got easier in the United Church of Christ with a new planning and assessment guide.

Pacific School of Religion seminarians get up-close look at putting faith in action

United Church of Christ - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 8:51am

Classes may have concluded for the semester at Pacific School of Religion, but applying knowledge is far from over for more than a dozen seminarians and recent graduates, now in Washington, D.C., learning how to put their faith in action.

9,000 trees planted in Kenya through Mission 4/1 Earth

United Church of Christ - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 6:34am

Through the hard work and generosity of Mission 4/1 Earth participants, nearly 9,000 trees will be planted in the Kenyan village of Kaiguchu by October. The Rev. Lise Sparrow, pastor of Guilford Community United Church of Christ in Guilford, Vt., who initiated the global partnership between the Mission 4/1 Earth campaign and Kenya, couldn't believe the church was able to reach the lofty goal she imagined before the UCC's 50-day earth care campaign began April 1.

"It was just wonderful," said Sparrow of the donations. "It was a question of dreaming the impossible dream – this will make a huge difference."

Sparrow and the Rev. Carter Via, co-pastor of Talmadge Hill Community Church UCC in Darien, Conn., whose congregation also has ties to Kaiguchu, traveled there in June to discuss with the villagers how to best use the funds. A council that formed to represent the villagers decided to purchase 400 macadamia nut tree seedlings, which will provide a future source of income. Those trees will be planted by 12 volunteers from four UCC churches during the October trip.

"I felt we were responsible for the fact that the UCC was so generous and felt I needed to go there to see what the villagers were thinking and talk though how we would use these funds most responsibly," Sparrow said. "We wanted to give the villagers the most possible say in how these funds should be used to benefit their community."

During their June visit, Sparrow and Via helped plant indigenous, fast-growing trees around the school to act as a type of fencing for protection and also aesthetic appeal. The villagers have been busy planting the remaining 8,000 trees provided by Mission 4/1 Earth funds on a deforested hillside once used for coffee and tea production. The trees will help prevent erosion, keep water levels high, and also create a source of wood for cooking and fuel. The villagers hope to have the trees planted by the time the UCC volunteers arrive in October.

The macadamia nut trees will be planted on the grounds of a secondary school being constructed through a partnership between Talmadge Hill UCC and Cross Cultural Thresholds, a nonprofit that works with grassroots community leaders to build schools and create opportunities for underprivileged children. A stipend has been set aside to compensate the villagers who are willing to help care for the trees once they are planted. Sparrow says this is an important part of the equation, as the trees are only beneficial if they thrive and grow. 

"You can plant the seedlings, but the real cost is in encouraging people to water the trees and keep them growing and weeded," she said. "Those willing to do this will get a little income over the next few years."

"I feel very strongly that we were born to care and we were born to take care of," Via adds. "And that means ourselves, it means other people, it means the next generation, it means the earth. So this project is really kind of a beautiful extension of that. It’s just about caring and taking care of."

Learn more about the partnership between Guilford Community UCC and the village of Kaiguchu.

Don't Congratulate a Cat on its Landing

UCC Daily Devotional - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 11:00pm

Lillian Daniel

Be on the lookout for the next cat flailing in the air. And next time, try to help. 

'One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism' to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

United Church of Christ - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 10:00am

Three congregations in Massachusetts are joining together to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with worship, a service project and a concert.

Lobster Bisque in a Paper Cup

UCC Daily Devotional - Sun, 05/28/2017 - 11:00pm

Matt Laney

When Paul describes us as "earthen vessels" in the verse above, he doesn't use the word for "good china." He's talking about ordinary, everyday dishes.

May 28, 2017: Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Lectionary Readings - Sun, 05/28/2017 - 1:00am
Acts 1:6-14 * Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 * 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 * John 17:1-11

Comfort Ye

UCC Daily Devotional - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 11:00pm

Vince Amlin

God doesn't comfort us in our exclusion, our injustice, or our defense of systemic oppression. God doesn't comfort us in our complacency, our complicity, or our sin. 

Troubled Waters

UCC Daily Devotional - Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:34pm

Vicki Kemper

Consider the Elishas you know: good, faithful people caught in a mess of someone else's making, trying with everything they've got to hang on.

Chosen Family

UCC Daily Devotional - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:00pm

Emily C. Heath

Our families teach us who we are, and who we can be. And sometimes God creates families for us in the most amazing ways. 

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