Resolutions of the United Church of Christ

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The United Church of Christ is a Christian denomination. Periodically, bodies within the United Church of Christ issue resolutions for various reasons. These statements may or may not be representative of the United Church of Christ. This article documents notable resolutions from the various formal bodies of the United Church of Christ.

David Roozen, director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research who has studied the United Church of Christ, said surveys show the national church's pronouncements are often more liberal than the views in the pews but that its governing structure is set up to allow such disagreements. [1]

Resolutions about denominational statements[edit]

The 2001 "Mutual respect within the faith community " [2] resolution passed by General Synod XXIII "calls upon all levels of the United church of Christ, the national covenanted ministries,conferences, associations, and individual congregations of the denomination to be sensitive to the needs and concerns of a church with such a diverse population and difference of theological beliefs and to identify representatives or groups issuing statements to indicate that they speak only on behalf of themselves or their groups and not on behalf of or for the entire 1.4 million members of the United Church of Christ."

A proposed resolution being submitted by the Faithful and Welcoming Renewal group to General Synod XXVI [3] "seeks to "address the concerns of congregations that may be considering withdrawal from the United Church of Christ by reaffirming our classical and centrist theological heritage and by explicitly including in our extravagant welcome those members and churches considering themselves to be evangelical, conservative, orthodox, or traditional in theological outlook" This resolution "acknowledges the existence of a broad spectrum of thought on contemporary issues of theology and ethics, and advocates fair representation of ECOT and centrist points of view alongside liberal and progressive points of view in all settings of the United Church of Christ, including official gatherings and publications" and "calls upon all settings of the church to consider prayerfully its policies and statements in terms of their impact on the unity and future of local churches, associations, and conferences in the UCC."

General Synod Resolution Overview[edit]

The denomination's churchwide deliberative body is the General Synod, which meets every two years. The General Synod is composed of delegates elected from the Conferences (distributed proportionally by conference size) together with the boards of directors of each of the four covenanted ministries (see below, under National Offices).

While General Synod provides the most visible voice of the "stance of the denomination" on any particular issue, the covenantal polity of the denomination means that General Synod speaks to local churches, associations, and conferences, but not for them. Thus, the other settings of the church are always allowed to hold differing views and practices on all non-constitutional matters.

General Synod considers three kinds of resolutions:

  • Pronouncements: A Pronouncement is a statement of Christian conviction on a matter of moral or social principle and has been adopted by a two-thirds vote of a General Synod.
  • Proposals for Action: A Proposal for Action is a recommendation for specific directional statements and goals implementing a Pronouncement. A Proposal for Action normally accompanies a Pronouncement. (See link above regarding Pronouncements.)
  • Resolutions and Other Formal Motions Which may consist of the following three types:
    • Resolutions of Witness: A Resolution of Witness is an expression of the General Synod concerning a moral, ethical, or religious matter confronting the church, the nation, or the world, adopted for the guidance of the officers, Associated, or Affiliated Ministries, or other bodies as defined in Article VI of the Bylaws of the United Church of Christ; the consideration of local churches, Associations, Conferences, and other bodies related to the United Church of Christ; and for a Christian witness to the world. It represents agreement by at least two-thirds of the delegates voting that the view expressed is based on Christian conviction and is a part of their witness to Jesus Christ.
    • Prudential Resolutions: A Prudential Resolution establishes policy, institutes or revises structure or procedures, authorizes programs, approves directions, or requests actions by a majority vote.
    • Other Formal Motions

General Synod Resolutions by Year[edit]

2005 - Twenty-fifth General Synod XXV held in Atlanta Georgia[edit]

General Synod 25 Minutes [4]

Note: The numbered links to resolutions, are to resolutions as proposed. The links to "Minutes" are the links to the official GS 25 Minutes, which document reports the resolutions as passed. Direct links to pages within the GS 25 minutes file do not work with some combinations of versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader.

2003 - Twenty-fourth General Synod XXIV held in Minneapolis, Minnesota[edit]

  • A RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF COMMISSIONED MINISTRY AS AN AUTHORIZED MINISTRY OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST [32]

2001 - General Synod 23 held in Kansas City, Missouri[edit]

Minutes

  • Mutual respect within the faith community [33]
  • To end the presence of the United States Navy in the municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico [34]
  • Resolution on conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone [35]
  • Call for study on reparations for slavery [36]
  • Reaffirming the Trinitarian basis of our ecumenism [37]
  • Program for essential conference ministry [38]
  • Preservation of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arickara languages of the three affiliated tribes [39]
  • Pension supplementation for Native American ordained and licensed ministers [40]
  • Pastoral compensation ("To address compensatory disparities existing among American Indian clergy and non-native clergy serving congregations in the United Church of Christ") [41]
  • Resolution on juvenile justice [42]
  • Health effects and impacts of tobacco on children, teenagers, and their families [43]
  • The epidemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome on the continent of Africa [44]
  • Colombia ( "The purpose of this resolution is to help our conferences become more aware of the situation in Colombia and give concrete suggestions for how to respond to crisis.") [45]
  • Calling upon the United Church of Christ to initiate a jubilee for justice for rural America [46]
  • Calling for a more just, humane direction for economic globilization [47]
  • Access to excellent public schools: a child's civil right in the 21st century [48]
  • Calling on the United Church of Christ to join the Decade to Overcome Violence [49]
  • Anti-Semitism ("This resolution calls on the Twenty-third General Synod of the United Church of Christ to face the problem of anti-Semitism, to help the congregations become aware of the problem of anti-Semitism, and to address the issue through both education and concrete actions") [50]
  • Redistributing tax rebates to the poor [51]
  • A Statement on Convergence in Matters of Theology and Practice between the Alliance of Baptists and the United Church of Christ [52]
  • Recommendation to the churches for a new partnership, Churches Uniting in Christ, Consultation on Church Union [53]
  • A pronouncement on a United Church of Christ ministry and witness with Micronesians [54]
  • Support for federally funded research on embryonic stem cells [55]
  • [In support of the coalition of Immokalee workers boycott of Taco Bell] [56]
  • “Christian Response to Development in Genetic Technology”

1999 - Twenty-second General Synod XXII held in Providence, Rhode Island[edit]

  • CALLING THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO JUSTICE FOR PERSONS WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESSES (BRAIN DISORDERS) page 10
  • "Bringing Justice and Peace to The Middle East"
  • “Christian Faith, Economic Life and Justice"
  • “Licensed and Ordained Ministries in the United Church of Christ.” [57]
  • "PARTNERSHIP IN MISSION AND MINISTRY BETWEEN THE CONGREGATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN AMERICAN SAMOA AND THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST [58]
  • "PREVENTION OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER YOUTH SUICIDE" [59]

1997 - Twenty-first General Synod XXI held in Columbus, Ohio[edit]

  • Renewed by God's Spirit: Affirming God's Presence and Power in the Life of the United Church of Christ [60]
  • Jerusalem: City of Life [61]
  • "Palestine/Israel"
  • "Jerusalem city of life"
  • RECLAIMING THE CHURCH’S MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND HEALING [62] [63]
  • RESOLUTION "FULL COMMUNION WITH THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA, THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA), AND THE REFORMED CHURCH IN AMERICA"
  • "Affirming democratic principles in an emerging global economy" [64]
  • "FIDELITY AND INTEGRITY IN ALL COVENANTED RELATIONSHIPS" [65]
  • Reclaiming The Role of Pastor as Teacher adopted but not funded. An important resolution that basically was ignored by local churches due, in the opinion of one UCC member, to the fact it was unfunded and the message did not get out, sufficiently, to church members.

It was recommended that the Office for Church Life and Leadership along with Conference and Association Church and Ministry Committees; 1. emphasize that the call to Ordained Ministry includes a call to teach as well as to pastor and 2. develop clearer guidelines on how this calling to teach informs expectations in the training and standing of Pastors;

Essentially, this was not accomplished.

1995 - Twentieth General Synod XX[edit]

  • Resolution “on the need for educating members of the United Church of Christ about the principle of separation of church and state”
  • "Ethical Guidelines for Labor Relations for United Church of Christ Organizations and Related Organizations " [66]
  • "United Church of Christ Response to "Churches in Covenant Communion" and Proposed Recommended Action." (Churches in Covenant Communion is a proposal for the nine member churches of the Consultation on Church Union to share their common life as The Church of Christ Uniting.) [67]

1993 - Nineteenth General Synod XIX[edit]

  • "Urging reopening of East Jerusalem"
  • "Calling the UCC to Become a Multiracial and Multicultural Church." [68]

1991 - Eighteenth General Synod XVIII held in Norfolk, Virginia[edit]

  • Reaffirming Universal Health Care Y2K

[69]

  • Recognizing the Rights of Native Hawaiians to Self-Determination and Self-Governance [70]
  • “Support of Quality, Integrated Education for All Children in Public Schools”
  • 91-GS-44 VOTED: The Eighteenth General Synod adopts the Resolution, “The Rights and Responsibilities of Christians Regarding Human Death.” pp. 46-47.
  • "CONCERNING THE CHURCH AND THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) OF 1991 " [71]

1989 - Seventeenth General Synod XVII[edit]

  • Pronouncement and Proposal for Action: “The Church and Genetic Engineering”
  • “Challenging the Resurgence of Racism in the United States of America”

1987 - Sixteenth General Synod XVI[edit]

  • “The Church and Genetic Engineering”
  • "The Israeli-Palestine Conflict"
  • "The Relationship Between the United Church of Christ & the Jewish Community " [72]
  • "A pronouncement A united church of Christ Ministry with Indians" [73]

1985 - Fifteenth General Synod XV[edit]

1983 - Fourteenth General Synod[edit]

  • Concern about the Moral and Ethical Implications of Genetic Engineering

1981 - Thirteenth General Synod[edit]

1979 - Twelfth General Synod[edit]

1977 - Eleventh General Synod[edit]

  • “The Right to Earn a Living”,
  • “Civil Liberties Without Discrimination Based on Affectional or Sexual Preference
  • RECOMMENDATIONS IN REGARD TO THE HUMAN SEXUALITY STUDY (Reception of the Human Sexuality Task Force Report [75] -- this vote (490 Yes; 210 No) spurred the formation of the United Church People for Biblical Witness, later to become the Biblical Witness Fellowship.

1975 - Tenth General Synod[edit]

  • "The Pacific and Asian American Ministries
  • RESOLUTION ON HUMAN SEXUALITY AND THE NEEDS OF GAY AND BISEXUAL PERSONS [76]-- "The Tenth Synod requests the Executive Council to commission a study concerning the dynamics of human sexuality and the theological basis for a Christian ethic concerning human sexuality, and to recommend postures for the church, to be presented to the Eleventh General Synod."

1973 - Ninth General Synod held in St. Louis, Missouri[edit]

  • "Ecumenical Stance of the United Church of Christ" (conciliar movement) [77]
  • 73-GS-36 VOTED: The General Synod adopts as amended the statement on “The Rights and Responsibilities of Christians Regarding Human Death.”

pp. 42-43 of minutes

1971 - Eighth General Synod[edit]

  • declaration of commitment to improving the criminal justice system so that prisons become primarily institutions or training and rehabilitation of the inmates, 1971.

1969 - Seventh General Synod[edit]

  • “demand for law and order be combined with a demand for justice"

1967 - Sixth General Synod held in Cincinnati, Ohio [78][edit]

  • Resolution on The Middle East situation [79]
  • "Resolution to Abolish Capital Punishment" [80]

1965 - Fifth General Synod[edit]

1963 - Fourth General Synod[edit]

In 1963, the 4th General Synod called upon the United Church of Christ to be "radically committed" to "uproot intolerance, bigotry, and prejudice within our own living and to replace them with goodwill and the determination to strike down immediately the barriers which divide [people] on account of race. [81]

1961 - Third General Synod[edit]

The Constitution of the United Church of Christ was declared in force by the Third General Synod on July 4, 1961 [82]. The Bylaws were also adopted by the Third General Synod