Talk:United Church of Christ

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Lutheran Connections?[edit]

I see that two different editors have made the unsourced claim that the UCC is within the Lutheran tradition. Can anyone provide a source for this? If not, I think it should be removed. Reform tradition and Lutheran tradition are the not the same thing. Neither the Congregationalists nor the E & R churches are part of the Lutheran tradition, so I'm really not sure where this comes from--unless you're trying to claim that anything not Catholic is Lutheran? WeisheitSuchen (talk) 01:46, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

"The denomination, therefore, looks to a number of historic confessions as expressing the common faith around which the church gathers, including:

"The Evangelical Synod of North America traced its roots to later waves of 19th- and early 20th-century German immigration, which settled primarily in the Midwest (especially Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan). Members of this group largely came from the Evangelical Church of the Union, which formed in 1817 as a union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches in Prussia. The group often identified as primarily Lutheran (usually depending upon a local pastor's preference and/or background), but held a mixture of both Lutheran and Reformed beliefs and practices—so much so as to prevent this group from merging with other Lutheran bodies. Evangelicals looked to both the Reformed Heidelberg Catechism and Luther's Small Catechism as their confessions (and eventually developed an "Evangelical Catechism" for confirmation training of youth, which merged views of both)." Also note that when "Evangelical" is used it refers to Lutheranism.Ltwin (talk) 03:28, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Using Luther's Small Catechism does not demonstrate that the UCC is "generally considered" to be within the Lutheran tradition today, as the lead implies with the use of present tense. I'm afraid you're going to need a stronger source than that to refute what the UCC says about itself, which is that it is from the Reform tradition, as in Our Reformation Roots. Conflating evangelical with Lutheranism simply confuses the point further, and doesn't support your argument. Who is it that you believe "generally considers" the UCC to be part of the Lutheran tradition? WeisheitSuchen (talk) 04:00, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Ok well take a look at the page on the UCC site explaining the Lutheran/Reformed Formula of Agreement] of 1997. Skip down to the last paragraph and read where it expressly says "The United Church of Christ is the only church in the relationship that has roots in both the Reformed and Lutheran heritage. Our "German Evangelical" tradition drew from the wells of both Reformed and Lutheran Christianity. Many UCC congregations of our "German Reformed" tradition—especially in historically German-American communities in Pennsylvania—have lived together with Lutheran congregations as "union churches" since the 18th century." Ltwin (talk) 04:27, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you; that's what you should have used in the first place. If you feel strongly enough about it to edit war on it, I expect you to be able to back it up with a reliable external source. However, I don't think that shows that the two are on equal footing, as your current phrasing in the lead implies. What about "primarily in the Reform tradition, but also historically influenced by Lutheranism," which seems to more accurately reflect how the UCC tells its own history? After all, there's a section for "Our Reformation Roots" but no parallel section for Lutheranism. The current phrasing gives undue weight to Lutheranism. If it seems too complex to tease out that relationship in the lead, then I'd prefer to just see it cut and dealt with later in the article. WeisheitSuchen (talk) 12:18, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm fine with saying it has roots in Lutheranism. Ltwin (talk) 17:00, 2 November 2009 including this is unclear. The referenced document stands by itself. --Albany45 (talk) 01:00, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Progressive Christianity article link[edit]

I have removed a link to the Progressive Christianity article from the "See also" section. I believe that it expresses a POV of the United Church of Christ as a "progressive" denomination. While there are some in the denomination who would claim that mantle for themselves, there are many others who would not, and the United Church of Christ has never, in any authoritative capacity, declared itself to be a "progressive" denomination. As the article states, this is a diverse denomination, and the present article needs to honor that fact. Cheers, aliceinlampyland (talk) 04:39, 14 September 2011 (UTC).


They do consider themselves progressive.

http://www.ucc.org/about-us/ucc-firsts.html

http://www.progressiverenewal.org/welcome/about-us — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.94.154.235 (talk) 16:26, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

It doesn't matter if the church itself has declared itself "progressive" or not. What matters is that, despite what diversity may exist, at the national level at least, it is nicely located within the progressive wing of American Protestantism.
The first of the two links is an historical presentation, not a statement of theological identity. The second is a link to a parachurch organization, irrelevant to this discussion.

I think it matters very much whether the church has declared itself "progressive" because otherwise it is an interposition of categories that are not indigenous to the denomination. It is an interposition of a left-right dichonomy that is not reflective of the actual lived church life of many people in the denomination. It is also, quite frankly, a simplistic characterization of the theological situation within the United Church of Christ, which has a strong representation of people influenced by Neo-Orthodoxy who are usually ok with leftish political statements but who are religiously quite traditional and critical of liberal theology. I still contend that the link represents impermissible POV. aliceinlampyland (talk) 23:54, 15 September 2011 (UTC).

I would also further add that within the UCC, 'what the national church says' is not generally indicative of 'what the UCC is'. That is, because of its rather unique polity, the national body is generally understood as speaking 'to' but not 'for' the denomination as a whole. This is a sensibility that is widespread in the denomination. aliceinlampyland (talk) 00:01, 16 September 2011 (UTC).

Calvinist vs United and Uniting[edit]

I have changed the orientation of the UCC from Mainline/Calvinist to Mainline/United and Uniting - see the Wikipedia article on United and uniting churches. While the UCC and most of its predecessor churches have their origins in the Reformed wing of the Protestant Reformation, it is difficult to defend the position that the UCC is in its present form a truly Calvinist denomination. By way of illustration, the history of the New England Congregationalism that is still dominant in the UCC begins with the the 17th century Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were indeed Calvinists, but by the time those churches evolved into Congregationalist churches in the 18th century, there was already a sharp move away from classical Calvinism. By the early 19th century, the Unitarian controversy emerged, splitting the churches along doctrinal lines. By this point, the "orthodox" Congregationalists who maintained a Trinitarian understanding of God were nonetheless already far removed from the beliefs of their Puritan forebears. The Congregationalist churches began to steadily embrace progressive causes such as the abolition of slavery and were chief among the exponents of the Social Gospel movement. By the 20th century, all the predecessor denominations were largely non-evangelical (in the conservative usage of this word), embraced ecumenism and church unity and were often deemed liberal. These trends resulted in the creation of the UCC as one of the United and uniting churches in 1957. While the UCC, like many United churches, has roots in the Reformed branch of Protestantism and maintains membership in the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, stating that the UCC's present orientation is Calvinist, as that term is commonly defined, is inaccurate. I invite further comments for those who may oppose this change. --Jm3106jr (talk) 23:23, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

United Methodist Church not in full communion with the UCC[edit]

I deleted the reference that the UCC is in full communion with the United Methodist Church. The UMC was not part of the 1997 Formula of Agreement between the participating Lutheran and Reformed churches in the United States. The reference given in this section to the UCC's webpage on ecumenical relations mentions the UMC only as an ecumenical partner via Churches Uniting in Christ, but CUIC has not yet resulted in a full communion agreement among its participants. If you look at the footnotes, the UMC along with the Episcopal Church is specifically noted as not in a relationship of full communion with the UCC, but only in ecumenical partnership as currently provided by CUIC. --Jm3106jr (talk) 23:22, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Changed UCC Polity from "Modified Congregationalist and Presbyterian" to simply "Congregationalist"[edit]

I have changed the polity listed for the UCC from "modified Congregationalist and Presbyterian" to simply "Congregationalist". The local church is supreme per the UCC Constitution and thus its form of Congregationalism is not at all "modified" - it is pure Congregationalism. There is no actual Presbyterian polity in operation in the UCC. This was not the case for the pre-merger Evangelical and Reformed Church which did indeed have a modified Presbyterian polity, but that polity did not survive the merger in 1957. In effect, the E&R congregations became congregationalist local churches overnight once the merger was completed. While other UCC bodies, like the general synod, state level conferences, and area associations have influence and can make recommendations, they cannot direct or order a local church of the UCC to comply with its decisions. The only definitive action an association or conference can take against a local church of the UCC is to terminate fellowship with it. This would in turn mean that the local church in question would cease to be a congregation of the UCC, but it would remain a Congregationalist church with all its assets intact. --Jm3106jr (talk) 00:24, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Note that Conferences are not always "state level" bodies. Two examples:
  • Northern California Nevada Conference covers roughly half of each of two states
  • Pacific Northwest Conference covers Washington, North Idaho and Alaska --Tony Lewis (talk) 17:54, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

National Council of Congregational Churches of the United States[edit]

Note to all interested editors, I've created an article for the National Council of the Congregational Churches of the United States. This was the first formal nation-wide denominational structure established by the Congregationalists and existed from 1865 until 1931 when it merged into the Congregational Christian Church. It's still pretty much a stub, so any expansion would be appreciated. Ltwin (talk) 11:50, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

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