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UCC: Obama’s Racist Church Is ‘A Great Gift’

A chilling press release from the United Church of Christ via Worldwide Faith News:


UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: The Rev. J. Bennett Guess Director of Communications United Church of Christ Phone: (216) 736-2173 E-Mail: guessb@ucc.org

Friday, March 14, 2008

United Church of Christ leaders respond to ‘media caricatures’ of congregation

Cleveland, OH – In the wake of misleading attacks on its mission and ministry, Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ is being lauded by United Church of Christ leaders across the nation for the integrity of its worship, the breadth of its community involvement and the depth of its commitment to social justice.

Trinity United Church of Christ is a great gift to our wider church family and to its own community in Chicago,” says UCC General Minister and President John H. Thomas. “At a time when it is being subjected to caricature and attack in the media, it is critical that all of us express our gratitude and support to this remarkable congregation, to Jeremiah A. Wright for his leadership over 36 years, and to Pastor Otis Moss III, as he assumes leadership at Trinity.”

Thomas says he has been saddened by news reports that “present such a caricature of a congregation that been such a great blessing.”

“These attacks, many of them motivated by their own partisan agenda, cannot go unchallenged,” Thomas emphasizes. “It’s time for all of us to say ‘No’ to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends.” …

Among Trinity UCC’s crowning achievements, Thomas says, is its work with young people.

“While the worship is always inspiring, the welcome extravagant, and the preaching biblically based and prophetically challenging, I have been especially moved by the way Trinity ministers to its young people, nurturing them to claim their Christian faith, to celebrate their African-American heritage, and to pursue higher education to prepare themselves for leadership in church and society,” Thomas says.

‘Exceedingly gracious’

The Rev. Steve Gray, the UCC’s Indiana-Kentucky Conference Minister, describes Trinity UCC as a “jewel.”

It’s everything a Christian community is supposed to be,” says Gray, who has been working with Trinity UCC for the past three years to develop a new UCC congregation in Gary, Ind. “Trinity has given well over $100,000 in support of its partnership with us, and in 15 months of regular meetings with Jeremiah Wright, we always found him to be a man of gracious hospitality, humor, generosity, who paid attention to detail but also a man who does not call attention to himself.”

Trinity UCC has been involved in planting more than 15 new congregations, according to the UCC’s Evangelism Ministry in Cleveland…

‘Extraordinary outreach’

The Rev. Bennie Whiten, retired Massachusetts Conference Minister who prior served for 15 years as associate director of Chicago’s Community Renewal Society, says, “Trinity was one church that we could always rely on to respond almost immediately. They have been very, very involved in the community in so many meaningful ways.” …

Whiten, a member of Pilgrim UCC in Oak Park, Ill., is especially taken with Trinity UCC’s commitment to the need and importance of quality theological education. More than 60 members of Trinity UCC are currently enrolled in seminary and pursuing masters-level degrees. Moreover, the congregation pays for students’ tuition costs.

They firmly believe in the UCC’s commitment to an educated, seminary-trained clergy,” Whiten said, “and they have probably had more people feeling the call to ministry than any other church in the denomination.”

The Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, president and professor of theology at UCC-related Chicago Theological Seminary, says Trinity UCC is a model church in the way it supports its people in discerning and cultivating their gifts for ministry, both lay and ordained.

“Another thing I really appreciate about Trinity is that its ministries are always directed both inward, toward the congregation itself, and also outward in supporting other congregations ecumenically and supporting community organizations that are dedicated to lifting up the wider society,” Thistlethwaite says. “We have had so many fine students come through Chicago Theological Seminary who were helped to discern their call to ministry through this church’s dedication to serving the wider church.”

‘Jesus and justice’

The Rev. Kenneth L. Samuel, pastor of the 5,300-member Victory UCC in Stone Mountain, Ga., says he is impressed that trinity UCC “promotes spirituality and piety while also being emphatic about social justice.” …

“Trinity was really one of the churches that inspired me to want to affiliate with the United Church of Christ,” Samuel said. “My church was originally National Baptist and Southern Baptist, but it was the critical-thinking that [Trinity] brought to this work, the justice work, that helped me to want to become a part of the denomination. I have no regrets about that.”

Samuel says that, during Wright’s 36-year ministry at Trinity, Wright has not been afraid to tackle difficult topics, while staying equally committed to preaching “Jesus and justice.” …

‘Speaks well for us’

Carol Brown, national president of United Black Christians and a member of Cleveland’s Mt. Zion UCC for more than 50 years, describes Trinity UCC as “the flagship church of the United Church of Christ.”

“I think it’s very interesting that a minority group within a denomination can have the largest church, support the most ministries and give the largest number of OCWM [mission] dollars,” Brown says. “That speaks well for us as an accepting, open and affirming denomination. Especially, as a justice-oriented church, [Trinity UCC] sets a standard for all the denomination that all are welcome.”

Brown, who worships at Trinity UCC when in Chicago for meetings, says she is most taken by its exuberant spirit.

“It’s certainly a very welcoming church, and it’s certainly very reaffirming of the faith when people join in such large numbers when there’s an altar call,” Brown says. “It’s something that you don’t see in the average church. God is certainly at work there, and it’s exciting when you see that many people stand up to witness to their faith and step forward.”

Given the racism, hatred and despicable ignorance spewed as a matter of course by Mr. Wright, it is quite appalling that the UCC would give him such unquestioning support.

I wonder how many of their members are aware of what is actually going on with their donations.

(And again it should be pointed out that the young man who “pats” Mr. Wright on the back in the clip is Trinity’s highly trained new pastor, Otis Moss, III.)

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, March 16th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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