Interview with head of United Church of Christ

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It’s been a tumultuous last six weeks or so for the Rev. John Thomas, who heads the United Church of Christ, and his 1.2-million member denomination. There’s the IRS looking into the church’s possibly improper politicking on behalf of UCC-member Sen. Barack Obama, the brouhaha surrounding controversial sermon bits from UCC-pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. All […]

  • Leslie Nickel</span>

    I am a deeply committed and imperfect Christian. As a member of the United Church of Christ and a citizen, I was horrified by some of the comments made by Reverend Wright. And I am saddened by the damage they have done to our courageous, beloved community. I have since watched and read a wide variety of things said by and about Reverend Wright. I agree with John Thomas. Rev. Wright has said and done many wonderful things. By all accounts, the church that he served for 30 years, Trinity UCC, is a shining light and refuge for those in need in the Chicago area. In addition, many of Rev. Wright’s sermons are deeply moving. I was particularly touched by a sermon he gave about the hope of Moses’ momma, which saved Moses from a world intent on doing him harm. His sermons are generally thoughtful and thought-provoking and thoroughly Bible-based. Along with all this good, however, there has been some bad — some hate-filled, divisive words that did not foster the beloved community but undermined it. Every Christian has been there — said or done something that fell short of the glory of God. But before we leap to condemn the Reverend, we should consider our Lord’s clear command to “judge not, lest you be judged.” Having said that, I sure would appreciate hearing from Rev. Wright whether he views any of his words as having been unwise. From its struggles to abolish slavery to its current commitment to welcome gay people into the community of faith, our church has led by example. Would that we could lead on this issue as well.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, actually tragically, the UCC does not practice what it preaches about tolerance, at least not when it comes to pastoral dissent regarding its obsession with gay marriage. To openly oppose it as a pastor invites a fitness review with a preordained outcome. Purging dissenters is no monopoly of right-wing dogmatists. Though it is eminently fitting in the case of Rev. Wright, there will be no fitness review since calling upon God to damn instead of bless America is, in the eyes of the UCC elite, no sin; opposing gay marriage is.