I've fallen head over heels for the United Church of Christ.
Throughout seminary my friend Rick and I joked about carpooling from Kansas City, MO to St. Louis so we could attend Eden Seminary in St. Louis, MO. We knew the UCC had/has an intense commitment to social justice that surpassed that of the United Methodist Church. Yet we stayed put in Kansas City and graduated from Saint Paul School of Theology. I loved my time at SPST. I made life long friendships with both students and professors. I learned a lot there. At SPST I fell in love with Feminist, Womanist, Mujerista, and Process theologies. My mind and heart expanded in love and yearning to co-create a better world.
In my pursuit of ordination in the United Methodist Church it was suggested that I hide my love for these theologies. I refused. I fought against the male conservative system in the Missouri Conference.
When we moved back to Colorado and attended my husband's family church, Community Congregational Church of Manitou Springs, I heard the words "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here." Rainbow letters decorated their phamplets and they spoke about helping immigrants at the borders.
Then I attended Vista Grande Community Congregational Church. My first Sunday there, a beautiful woman was having a renaming ceremony. I couldn't stop the tears from flowing as her mother, children, family, friends, and church surrounded her with love reminding her that no matter what she is a beloved child of God, whether man or woman.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Congregations Alive, a UCC conference to build up UCC congregations, coming together for learning and fellowship. I must have walked around with my jaw dragging on the floor. The gathering was small compared to the UMC gatherings I'm used to and people were openly talking politics! They were openly discussing how Jesus' mandates and messages stood counter to things going on in our government!
I love the UCC's embrace of people living on the margins of life, people who are on the margins of the church. I love how they are not afraid to hide the light of Christ's words when they are in opposition to the ways of the world. I love how you can be you in the UCC. I love that they absolutely mean it when they say "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."
I'm excited about what is next on my journey in the UCC!