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UCC-GCO

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UCC 85th Anniversary Reflection: "...we who are many are one body..."

Greetings and anniversary wishes from the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee. As you celebrate the United Church's 85th Anniversary, we invite you to reflect on this phrase from 1 Corinthians 10:17:

"...we who are many are one body..."

and answer the following question:

How do you as an individual, congregation, or ministry of the United Church experience being one body? In other words, what bonds us together as The United Church of Canada?

Your responses to this question will contribute to further work by our committee reflecting on what it means to be The United Church of Canada today and in the future.

Please post your responses below, or you can email them to: theology@united-church.ca

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AaronMcGallegos's picture

AaronMcGallegos

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Hi, I thought I would give this a bump just so people are aware of it. I'd love to see what reflections WonderCafers may have on it.

 

Peace,

Aaron (Admin2)

seeler's picture

seeler

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I don't know all the details but it seems that the church is collecting wheat from various churches across the country, mixing it together, and then redistributing it to the churches.  We are meeting soon at our church to bag up batches of 'bannock' mix to distribute to the congregation.  Take home, add water, cook, and share while thinking of others in other congregations across the country sharing the bread.

 

 

DKS's picture

DKS

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What bonds us together? The answer is obvious... "crazy glue".

GordW's picture

GordW

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DKS wrote:

What bonds us together? The answer is obvious... "crazy glue".

with a big emphasis on the crazy

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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UCC-GC wrote:
Greetings and anniversary wishes from the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee. As you celebrate the United Church's 85th Anniversary, we invite you to reflect on this phrase from 1 Corinthians 10:17:

 

Happy 85th anniversary to the United Church of Canada!

mrs.anteater's picture

mrs.anteater

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A few years ago I bought a second hand book for $2 at the UCC bookstore- it was a book printed for the 65th birthday of the church. It was facinating to read about the UCC history.

Coming from the Catholic and Protestant church in Germany, I knew nothing about it. Even though I have been here involved in the UCC for 12 yrs, I never heard about it in church and all I found out was my own research. Very little trickled down into the United Church congregation I went to. It startles me, that the Canadians seem to be so distant from their main church. Reading about UCC history, I think there are lots of reasons to be pround. It wonders me even more, because Canadians are so much more national, as we can see during the Olympics. Why does this not apply to church membership?

I wonder if part of it is because the church is not transparent enough for it's members. I have read "this United church of ours" which is a good start. When my Ex-husbands crossed over to the Catholics, because he disagreed with the gay issue in the UCC, they expected him to attend an evening course that was several months long. My UCC congregation wouldn't even have had that option of learning about the church. I thought until just recently, that Mission and Service fund is just an outreach fund for missionaries and other social work. I didn't realize that it is the money that keeps the main church running.(Change the name, please).

Because I have changed denominations twice as a conscious choice, I feel myself being part of all three-baptised as a Catholic I feel part of their heritage, married as a Protestant I lived their tradition and when coming to Canada I chose the UCC as it came even closer to how I understand Christian tolerance and democratic church structure should be. But overall, we are all one body, no matter what denomination.

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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UCC-GC wrote:
we invite you to reflect on this phrase from 1 Corinthians 10:17:

 

"...we who are many are one body..."

 

and answer the following question:

 

How do you as an individual, congregation, or ministry of the United Church experience being one body? In other words, what bonds us together as The United Church of Canada?

 

I find it difficult to chew on such a small portion of Paul's meaty text. Let me begin with some notice of the context. The narrative exhorts the hearer/reader to mindfulness, specific to the perennial and pernicious problem of idolatry. It goes on to notice effective unity grounded in food and drink shared at a common table; the divine economy present by faith. This thesis being clearly articulated in the opening chapters of the Acts.

 

I am not sure why the author(s) of the question provide such a small thread to the authoritative ground of scripture. Is there some desire to obscure the stringent call to self-examination the context elaborates? Such a dodge would call into question the Basis of Union's affirmation of Scripture as the sole ground of authority for the Church. 

 

As one long immersed in the narrative structures of the gospel, it seems to me that the ground of our unity consists in vital relationship with the living Christ, present to faith as the Holy Spirit of God. All of us together and each of us in particular participate in the purposes of God by the decisive commitments of our baptism. By that baptism exiting the economies of power and entering the economies of authority. The former being hierarchical and the latter being egalitarian.

 

Saying this I point to solidarity in identity and purpose as the sign of unity. We may think, as Mardi has urged us to think, of MLK and the movement towards liberty in America...

 

MLK wrote:
I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.

 

...or Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a similar action during the high days of German State power.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord, we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race.

 

I have been with the UCC for just under 25 years. Along my way with the institution I have met many wonderful persons and groups. My primary circle of friendship includes UCC persons who have welcomed, inspired and encouraged me; through membership, discernment, candidacy and ordination processes and all the multi-faceted life of UCC communities. This does not blunt the critical edge of my call to the role of observer and witness.

 

We are a double-minded Church, wanting to hold to the Gospel with one hand and the doctrines of Thomas Hobbes with the other. This might not be fatal except that the latter is for the most part deeply buried in the unconscious. Raising it to critical consciousness is imperative, yet who will stand forward to the opportunity?

 

Imagine a United Church by faith withdrawing from the economies of consumption, redirecting all surplus value to enact its primary mandate: to love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly. Redirecting resources from the pursuit of hedonistic indulgence (idolatry as Paul would construe it) to resourcing and expressing loving service in the neighbourhood.

 

Imagine a United Church dedicated, with the whole heart, the whole mind, and the whole body, to the work of justice.

 

Then this scripture will be fulfilled: "A city that is built on a hill cannot remain hidden."

 

 

 

 

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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GeoFee wrote:
Redirecting resources from the pursuit of hedonistic indulgence (idolatry as Paul would construe it) to resourcing and expressing loving service in the neighbourhood.

 

Let me say a little more about this. At Nashwaaksis United, in Fredericton, about 200 persons gather for worship on any given Sunday. About one quarter of these persons spend a substantial amount of money on the various industries of indulgence, inclusive of entertainment, sport, travel and fashion. By my estimate ten percent of such expenditure, if redirected to serve the mandate of the gospel, could finance a comprehensive ministry of primary care in the neighbourhood.

 

The neighbourhood in question includes approximately forty social housing units, where single parent families struggle with the diverse and persistent issues of poverty and despair. Our building could serve as a central resource for the establishment and distribution of support services by which the lived experience of children would be enhanced and positive social determinants of health increased by significant degree. Our dedicated volunteer base would serve to further such a possibility.

 

If such a move could be imagined and undertaken a substantial consequence would follow, along the lines of the faithful public witness we notice in the Acts of the Apostles.

 

stoneeyeball's picture

stoneeyeball

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When the United Church grew up, they became Unitarians with a Christian veneer.  A few joined Rotary or Kiwanis instead.

seeler's picture

seeler

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GeoFee - you speak of a dream to have your church provide services for the low income people of your area.  This certainly should and could be part of the outreach of many congregations.  What steps are being taken to make this a reality?

 

 

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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seeler wrote:
What steps are being taken to make this a reality?

 

The steps we are taking are small and slow. A gradual erosion of the inherited world view, a diligent construction of alternatives by resort to story, music, drama and rhetoric. We are presenting a diversely textured narrative by which the gathered persons may question their priorities and commitments, perhaps reviewing earlier decisions and making small shifts of emphasis and intent. 

 

First steps require the examination of conscious and unconscious factors to determine a baseline by which to plot and track forward movement as mission in the neighbourhood and into the world.

DKS's picture

DKS

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stoneeyeball wrote:

When the United Church grew up, they became Unitarians with a Christian veneer.  A few joined Rotary or Kiwanis instead.

 

Oh? As a Rotarian I find that stereotype quite inaccurate.

Motheroffive's picture

Motheroffive

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Happy 85th UCC! I can hardly believe time has gone by so quickly. It seems like just a few weeks ago when, as a church admin person, I was putting items in the bulletin about the 80th celebration...

 

I did not grow up in the UCC, my mother was a nominal Anglican. However, I joined the UCC in my early adult life as a result of a profoundly mystical experience. I think that's a bit of an uncommon way for people to come into the UCC. In moving around over many years, I worshipped with other denominations but, most decidedly, I have returned to the UCC because of its direction of deep inclusion.

 

Our church is not perfect but major efforts have been and are being made to examine all facets of our lives together to create a place for everyone -- the song from More Voices, Draw the Circle Wide, is an apt, equivalent to the "One Body", metaphor for what I see the UCC engaged in. Thanks for that...

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