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April 9, 2017: Liturgy of the Passion (Year A)

Lectionary Readings - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 3:20pm
Isaiah 50:4-9a * Psalm 31:9-16 * Philippians 2:5-11 * Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54

Everett Parker's influence still impacts today's media

United Church of Christ - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 9:18am

The landscape of media communications has changed in the 30 years since the inaugural Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture. But the influence of Parker's groundbreaking work is still significant today.

"Our gathering always provides a reminder that social justice issues are inevitably tied to media access, and that the principles that Everett Parker was fighting for remain critically important today," said Sara Fitzgerald, treasurer of the OC, Inc. Board of Directors and one of the event's organizers.

The Parker Lecture, hosted annually by the United Church of Christ's Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.), was created in 1982 to recognize Parker's pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting. The event is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective.

"I have truly been blessed to have been able to contribute to, be benefited by and help others to serve in the UCC social justice ministry that required accountability of the media by the citizens it serves. This event is momentous for the thirty year legacy of the ethics lecture and the centennial year of Rev. Parker," said Earl Williams Jr., OC, Inc. board chairman. "I look forward to the remarks of our guests that reflect the current state of our media, government and the effect on our nation."

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. will deliver the 30th Annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Washington D.C. This year's event will also celebrate Parker's 100th birthday, as well as his pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting. The lecture and breakfast will take place at First Congregational United Church of Christ.

"It's a rare moment for us. Historically we're a new building but we have history within the civil rights movement," said the Rev. Sidney Fowler, First Congregational's transitional minister. "It's just a very exciting event."

First Congregational is an all-new facility that was dedicated in February, but it sits in the same spot in downtown D.C. since 1868. The new building is the third version the church, which was founded in 1865 by abolitionists as the first racially integrated church in D.C., and played a role in founding Howard University.

Since it was founded in 1959, OC Inc. has been a leading force in the struggle to ensure that women, persons of color and low-income persons have equal access to ownership, production, employment, and decision making in media.

Fitzgerald, a former editor for the Washington Post, said she always found the Parker Lecture very inspiring. "There are so many people involved in media reform and telecommunications policy who recognize how important Rev. Everett Parker's legal battle was to opening up broadcasting to minority voices and ownership and establishing the principle that the public has an interest in how the airwaves are used," she said.

"Many of the persons who attend the Parker Lecture were mentored by Everett Parker early in their careers, and many of them have gone on to help mentor others in the media reform movement and in the broadcasting industry," added Fitzgerald, a member of Rock Spring Congregational UCC in Arlington, Va. "Many of these people are not affiliated with the UCC, so it is wonderful to join with them at his event to celebrate this wonderful legacy."

Parker played a key role in ensuring American media accountability in the public interest. As the director of the Office of Communication of the UCC from 1954-83, his leadership in the development of influential media reform aimed to improve employment prospects for women and minorities in broadcasting.

Two awards will be presented, and two leaders from  the UCC national office will also speak at the event. The Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive for the Justice and Witness Ministries, will talk about Parker's legacy and OC, Inc., and the Rev. Geoffrey Black, the UCC's general minister and president, will introduce Jackson.

Charles Benton, chairman of the board of the Benton Foundation, will receive the Everett C. Parker Award for his leadership and support in promoting the public interest in traditional and digital media. S. Jenell Trigg, chair of the Intellectual Property and New Media and Technology Practice Group of Lerman Senter PLLC, will receive the Donald H. McGannon Award in recognition of her work to promote opportunities in telecommunications for women and persons of color.

Everett C. Parker, the UCC's trailblazing broadcast reformer, dies at 102

United Church of Christ - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 9:18am

The Rev. Everett C. Parker, a pioneering broadcast reformer, died Sept. 17, 2015 in White Plains, N.Y., at the age of 102.

Celebrating the legacy of Everett Parker on his 100th birthday

United Church of Christ - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 9:18am

The Rev. Everett C. Parker, founder of the United Church of Christ Office of Communication, is celebrating a milestone on his birthday Jan. 17, as he turns 100 years old.

Under his leadership, OC was the first church agency to combine press, broadcasting, film, research and educational functions under one head, a practice widely copied by other religious bodies. The UCC's current Office of Communication, Inc. continues Parker's legacy as a leading force in the struggle to ensure that women, persons of color and low-income persons have equal access to ownership, production, employment, and decision-making in media.

"Just as the UCC stands as a beacon of leadership on social justice, from the environment to peace to equality in gender, race, and marriage, the UCC is also founder of the media justice movement," said Cheryl Leanza, current policy advisor of OC, Inc. "Dr. Parker, as the UCC's first communications director, understood in 1957 what we know more strongly today — without a just and accountable media, social justice goals are that much harder to achieve."

Nowhere has Parker's effect on media justice been felt more than in broadcasting. At the urging of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who knew first-hand of the lack of African Americans portrayed positively on television throughout the South, Parker petitioned the FCC to deny the license renewal of WLBT, the local station in Jackson, Miss. The FCC denied the petition. Parker took the matter to court, and over the next five years, the courts ruled that the broadcast industry did serve the public interest. In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated WLBT's license on the grounds that it had violated the public trust and was therefore guilty of breach of duty.

Under Parker's leadership, OC also successfully petitioned the FCC to adopt EEO regulations, which leveled the playing field for women and persons of color, both on camera and in broadcast management.

"His work will truly stand for generations as millions will be reminded that he demanded that the "public" remain in control of the public interest and that all share in the ownership of the airwaves in spite of who may from time to time be responsible as stewards by our government," said Earl Williams, chair of the OC, Inc. board.

One of Parker's most successful public relations campaigns was the exoneration of the Wilmington Ten, nine young black men and a white woman who were falsely convicted of arson and conspiracy during racial turmoil at the Wilmington, N.C., high school in 1971. Their efforts to have black students treated equally with whites were led by Benjamin F. Chavis, a UCC employee.

As communication director, Parker mounted a public relations campaign in the world press that brought attention and embarrassment to North Carolina and the United States. The warden complained to the governor about the bad press, as did the U.S. State Department. Eventually, the members of the Wilmington Ten were freed by a federal court. Forty years later, the case was finally resolved. On Dec. 31, 2012, group members were granted pardons of innocence by then-governor of North Carolina, Beverly Purdue.

UCC General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black celebrated "Parker's direct role in advocating and initiating the United Church of Christ's engagement in support of the Wilmington Ten. It took a while, but today we are celebrating the exoneration of those young people who were wrongly accused and unjustly convicted in 1972. I feel fortunate to be serving in a time that has been so significantly touched by his life's work."

As the director of the Office of Communication of the UCC from 1954 to 1983, Parker played a key role in ensuring American media accountability in the public interest. His leadership in the development of influential media reform aimed to improve employment prospects for women and persons of color in broadcasting.

"As the current director of the UCC's Publishing, Identity and Communication Ministry, I am well aware of the legacy of Parker's ministry to this office," said Ann Poston. "If it weren't for his important work in equal opportunities for persons of color and — especially in my case — women, I might not be in this position."

The Parker Lecture, hosted annually by the United Church of Christ's Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.), was created in 1982 to recognize Parker's pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting. Poston said, "In standing with oppressed people against the tyranny of broadcasters who felt they owed nothing to the public, Parker carved the path for all media justice work to follow."

Learn more about the Rev. Everett Parker's work, and OC, Inc.
                                                           

Central Atlantic Conference rolls out welcome mat with General Synod special events

United Church of Christ - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 8:51am

The Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ is planning to welcome the wider church to General Synod 31 like never before. The conference is offering six special events that take place before or after General Synod 2017 in Baltimore June 30 through July 4, as a way to introduce people to all that the Maryland area has to offer.

Always Contrite

UCC Daily Devotional - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 11:00pm

Mary Luti

The best heart to have would be an always contrite heart. A heart that knows failure is one of the best friends the soul could have. 

Buffalo congregation offers immigrants refuge and resources to start over in Canada

United Church of Christ - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 7:00am

A church near the border is offering sanctuary and saving lives, heeding the call to build a just world for all.

Can You Stand Success?

UCC Daily Devotional - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 11:00pm

Kenneth L. Samuel

What happens when we achieve our goals and accomplish our aims? What happens when our days of struggle give way to days of triumph? What happens when Lent relents to Resurrection?

April 2, 2017: Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year A)

Lectionary Readings - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 1:00am
Ezekiel 37:1-14 * Psalm 130 * Romans 8:6-11 * John 11:1-45

Holy Weeping

UCC Daily Devotional - Sat, 04/01/2017 - 11:00pm

Richard L. Floyd

When we "weep with those who weep," and I am convinced that in these holy moments God weeps with us.

I Was Provoked

UCC Daily Devotional - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 11:00pm

Emily C. Heath

Our job as followers of Christ in community is to provoke one another with kindness, with compassion, with loving challenges, and with encouragement.

Denominational leaders offer prayers for UAA during a time of transition

United Church of Christ - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 11:54am

An ecumenical partner of the United Church of Christ is undergoing a sudden change in leadership, prompting prayers from denominational leaders for the Unitarian Universalist Association. Its president, the Rev. Peter Morales, announced he is stepping down on April 1.

Denominational leaders offer prayers for UUA during a time of transition

United Church of Christ - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 11:54am

An ecumenical partner of the United Church of Christ is undergoing a sudden change in leadership, prompting prayers from denominational leaders for the Unitarian Universalist Association. Its president, the Rev. Peter Morales, announced he is stepping down on April 1.

First Virginia Kreyer scholarship 'a blessing' to Michigan seminarian

United Church of Christ - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 8:02am

Melanie Johnson refuses to let her disability slow her down or keep her from helping others in the same way she did before her injury, during years working as an emergency medical technician. With her determination, and the grace of God, Johnson is on a path to help people through ministry.

Pure Gospel

UCC Daily Devotional - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 11:00pm

Tony Robinson

Is this Christian thing mainly about all the stuff we do or are supposed to do?

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