This year will be the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. August 6 is Hiroshima Day. It is also my birthday. Ever since I made this connection I have found this deeply troubling.Read more
Anniversaries are times to recall and appreciate history and relationships. It is a time to review where we have been and where we are going. Mission is an enterprise of going out of the doors of our churches and witnessing to the love of God through Jesus Christ among those we come into contact with. Sometimes that mission takes us next door. Sometimes that mission takes us to distant lands. Sometimes God calls us to places where another religion may be in the majority. In the case of the Middle East, mission was to the birthplace of Christianity itself. The Christians,Read more
Dear young people of the United Church of Christ:
We sometimes get letters from you in your Sunday School or confirmation classes or youth groups. We respect your teachers and advisers, who are volunteering to help you with your religious education and spiritual growth. We hope you realize how lucky you are -- and we’re sure they are lucky to have you as their students!
The family of Christians is so richly diverse! How can we be one? Politics, sociology, theology, ritual, language, calendar, music, scripture -- you name it, many of our Christian communities are polar opposites. What unites Christians? There doesn’t seem to be one common ground. Even Jesus’ disciples each had a different view of who he was. But we suspect there is something in every Christian group that can strengthen and inform the faith of others.Read more
We recently gave thanks for the life of Altan Unver (1939-2005), the creator of the Development Foundation of Turkey. Altan was both a student and then a teacher for a time at the historical Tarsus American College, started by our predecessor missionaries. An international participant in the work camp movement of the 1950s in North America and Europe, Altan ran work camps in Turkey. He actualized his vision of improving the agricultural practices and material lives of Turkey’s rural poor by establishing the highly successful Development Foundation of Turkey in 1969. Altan’s life work of service to the people of his country will live on in his pioneering NGO as well as in the efforts of relatives and friends inspired by his example.Read more
The member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) have been invited to make Sunday 24 April a day of memory of the Armenian genocide on its 90th anniversary.Read more
You may be aware that Christians around the world do not celebrate Easter on the same day. For example, this year (2005), many Protestant groups celebrate Easter on March 27, while many Orthodox groups celebrate it five Sundays later, on May 1. In the same way, Lent begins on different days for different Christians and lasts for different periods. Some people regard this as a scandal, a detraction from the ideal of Christian unity.Read more
At times things have felt overwhelming as I continue to be the primary caregiver for a dear friend with cancer. I have learned much about what it means to be a caregiver and about love, patience and the need for support from Suzan’s family, from friends and from God.
To Our Beloved Church Members,
2004 is behind us. The history of this past year cannot now be changed, whether what was done was permanent or transient, whether what happened was pleasing or upsetting, interesting or unimportant. Of course each one of us would prefer to re-live some of the events of last year and, if possible, change some of our decisions, or take a different route. Yet certainly there were some developments in 2004 that were pleasing and crowned with success. In any case, now it is all history. It is not possible to change any of it. This is how the history of men, families, and nations comes about.
Dear friends, Over the years I have valued the writings of S. Wesley Ariarajah. He’s a Tamil from Sri Lanka, and a Methodist pastor and scholar. According to his recent book, Axis of Peace (World Council of Churches, 2004), he teaches ecumenical theology at Drew University. Wesley Ariarajah wrestles in this book with the problems of Christian faith in times of violence and war.Read more