WORDS FROM THE 28TH GENERAL SYNOD OF THE UCC

UCC’s overarching mission: “Continuing Testament. Extravagant Welcome. Changing Lives.”

“Continuing Testament is evidenced in our Still Speaking Daily Devotionals, it’s visible in our UCC seminaries and through our leaders,” said the Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte, whose term is ending as executive ministries for Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of Global Ministries. “God’s continuing testament is not etched in tablets forever, but written on our hearts.”

Edith Guffey, leaving in her role as associate general minister of the Office of General Ministries, said, “When I think of Extravagant Welcome, I think of more than being nice to newcomers. I think of the important work that our church has been engaged in the past century – to welcome the stranger, to receive the lost, to heal the broken and to include the marginalized. Being ecumenical and interfaith is another way of expressing this extravagance.”

Concluding his term as executive minister of Local Church Ministries, the Rev. Stephen L. Sterner pointed to the more than 150 “Changing Lives” videos on ucc.org.

“Some are stories of the ‘I once was lost but now I’m found’ genre,” said Sterner. “Some are stories of global partnerships, how they have crossed borders and offered healing and hope. Some are stories about how UCC justice work has helped to make another world possible – not just in places like Washington, D.C., but in places where people find themselves struggling.”

The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for Justice and Witness Ministries, acknowledged that talking about the UCC’s distinctiveness is not always easy for its members.”But it’s something we really need to get over and get to peace with,” said Jaramillo, “because in evangelism, in outreach and in fundraising, the distinctiveness of the United Church of Christ does matter.”