From the Worldwide Faith News archives

UCC/Synod delegates to debate renewal ministries

Date 27 Jun 1997 08:16:03

June 28, 1997
United Church of Christ
Barb Powell, press contact (Cleveland)
(216) 736-2217
Press Room, July 3-8
Room C110, Greater Columbus Convention Center, Ohio
(614) 722-1216
On the Web:

[This is one in a series of releases previewing the
United Church of Christ's 1997 General Synod.  Future
releases will detail other agenda items.  The Synod
will draw an estimated 3,000 people, including some
700 voting delegates from 39 regional bodies of the
denomination.  On moral, social and theological
matters, the biennial Synod speaks to, and not for,
the UCC's 1.5 million members and 6,100 local
churches.  News coverage is welcome.  For information,
call the Cleveland number above.  During the General
Synod, news will be updated twice daily on a special
Synod section of the UCC home page (Web address

Delegates to national church meeting to debate ways of
revitalizing teaching, healing, giving and spiritual
renewal ministries

COLUMBUS, Ohio--In a push to reclaim and renew
traditional Christian ministries, delegates to the
21st General Synod of the United Church of Christ will
vote on one proposed pronouncement and three proposed
resolutions on spiritual growth, teaching, healing and
giving when they meet July 3-8 in Columbus.
      The proposed pronouncement, "Renewed by God's
Spirit:  Affirming God's Presence and Power in the
Life of the United Church of Christ," calls the UCC in
all its settings to "identify, affirm and practice the
rich diversity of spiritual disciplines among [its]
members for the revival of personal faith, local
church life and mission."  Citing a deep-rooted
longing for spiritual meaning and the church's
struggle to reinterpret the gospel "in the face of
contemporary competing values," it asks that new
resources be developed for sharing the differing
spiritual disciplines and practices in the UCC.  The
proposed pronouncement also calls for the
"rediscovery, practice and appreciation of the diverse
spiritual practices represented" among the church's
multiethnic, multicultural membership.

Teaching and healing ministries

      In an era of increased stress and societal
pressures, General Synod delegates will vote on a
proposed resolution on "Reclaiming the church's
ministry of health and healing," which calls on UCC
local congregations to develop and include in their
mission a commitment to health and wholeness and to
consider a health ministry or parish nurse program. 
The proposed resolution calls on national agencies of
the church and UCC-related seminaries to develop
resources for health ministry in local churches, and
calls upon the UCC's regional associations and
conferences to formally recognize health ministry and
parish nursing as specialized ministries.  The
resolution also asks the UCC's Office for Church Life
and Leadership to "recognize and consider including
health ministry and parish nursing in the listing of
specific church-related ministries qualifying for
commissioned ministry in the UCC's Manual on
      A separate proposed resolution calls for "the
church in all its settings to refocus on the role of
pastor as teacher."  "Jesus charged the disciples to
teach and they in turn understood teaching to be
integral to their ministry," the resolution reads. 
Citing Ephesians 4:11-12, "And the gifts Christ gave
were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the
saints for the work of ministry," the resolution calls
the UCC to renewed awareness of the importance of the
teaching role of pastors.  It calls on the UCC in all
its settings to support and encourage pastors in their
efforts to integrate the ministry of teaching with
worship, preaching and pastoral ministries by
providing necessary resources for study and continuing
education.  It specifically asks the UCC's Office for
Church Life and Leadership to emphasize that the call
to teach is part of the call to ordained ministry.

Good stewardship:  A giving ministry

      In "Toward a New Vision of Giving," General
Synod delegates will vote on a new plan for giving in
funding the ministries of the church.  In 1994, the
UCC's Executive Council -- which conducts church
business between General Synods -- charged the
church's Stewardship Council with developing a new way
of funding the ministries of the UCC, especially in
the conference and national settings of the church. 
The Stewardship Council conducted an extensive mission
funding study to discern patterns of giving that are
effective and faithful.
      The proposed resolution is the outgrowth of that
study.  It directs the Stewardship Council to
introduce and test, in partnership with the UCC's
regional conferences, the concept of giving through a
special mission opportunities catalog, as well as a
way of inviting local church members to give directly
to "Our Church's Wider Mission" -- the UCC's basic
churchwide mission-support fund -- over a two-year
period.  Currently, all OCWM offerings are sent to the
UCC's regional conferences, who then send a portion on
to the national ministries of the church.
      The proposed resolution also calls on various
national bodies of the church to redesign current
offering resource information to make new "Special
Mission Offerings easily promoted, widely inviting,
consistent with new structural realities and able to
invite giving that enables special mission to be
undertaken."  It calls on pastors and leaders of the
UCC to nurture Christians in their role as "stewards"
with the awareness that there are many approaches to
giving, often based on "differing denominational
heritages, varieties of racial and ethnic cultures,
differing generational perspectives and lifestyles"
and different ways of giving globally in partner

      The United Church of Christ, with national
offices in Cleveland, has local congregations in the
United States and Puerto Rico.  It was formed by the
1957 union of the Congregational Christian churches
and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

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