An Open Letter to the United Church of Christ"I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace!" (Galatians 1:1-3) As leaders of the United Church of Christ, we gathered in Savannah, Georgia, to envision Authorizing Ministry for the Twenty-First Century. We were 140 women and men serving the church as associate conference ministers, conference ministers, national partners, national staff, and elected national officers. As we gathered in the midst of the Advent Season, our hearts were broken as we heard the news of the miscarriage of justice. We lament when those entrusted to protect us are shielded from accountability. In the season of the year that is intended to be joy filled, we weep because we live in a culture that tolerates senseless acts of violence that unjustly target certain sectors of our communities. Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” We are outraged! As we approach the third Sunday of Advent and light the candle of joy, we are mindful of others whose joy is diminished. We remember those whose lives were extinguished prematurely and unjustly, and those who mourn their loss. We are reminded of our responsibility to abide with them in ways that restore their joy. On Christmas Eve we lift the Christ candle in the midst of our people proclaiming the birth of the one who is the light that shines in the darkness. The one who calls us to be the light that shines in the darkness of a world still filled with hopelessness, hatred, sorrow and violence. With arms open and HANDS UP, we welcome the one who brings hope, love, joy, and peace. It is our prayer that the grace given freely by our Savior Jesus Christ is personally yours. Written by the Council of Conference Ministers and distributed by Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ 700 Prospect Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115 (216) 736-3701 "Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words." (St. Francis of Assisi)
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