Five officials from the United Church of Christ will introduce a pastoral letter on the Iraq War to more than 10,000 delegates, members, and church leaders from around the country at the Hartford Civic Center Friday afternoon.
Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president, said the church has been somewhat silent on its position on the war. While the delegates won’t have a vote on the letter, they will have an opportunity to sign onto the letter that calls for an end to the war.
By introducing the letter at the largest ever gathering of the church “we believe this will magnify our voice,” Thomas said. A voice that’s been drowned out mostly by the Christian right. Thomas said he thinks there’s a large group of Christians out there who “yearn to hear their prespectives,” in the media. He said we’re letting people know there’s a “broad range of voices,” in Christianity.
For anyone who wants to sign the letter it’s posted on UCC’s web site: http://www.ucc.org.
He said he didn’t anticipate the letter on the war was going to cause controversy the same way its resolution on marriage equality did two years ago in Atlanta.
In 2005, the UCC assembly passed a marriage equality resolution that caused about 90 congregations to leave the church, Thomas said. He said there are resolutions this year to rescind the marriage equality resolution, but doesn’t think they will see the support they need to pass.
In order to balance the conservative and liberal within the church Thomas said there’s a resolution to reaffirm the church’s historic faith stances and unify the church again through its biblical, theological foundations.
He said the conference in Hartford, includes worship and the business of the church related to both the life of the church, and broader society.
Sen. Barak Obama, D-IL will address the UCC assembly Saturday afternoon. Thomas said Obama was asked to be a speaker before he announced his candidacy for president.
He said he has asked Obama to reflect on the intersection of faith and politics in his own life.
Obama is a member of the UCC and is expected to talk for about 45-minutes at the Hartford Civic Center 2:30 p.m., Saturday.
For those who haven’t registered or are unable to attend the conference the UCC is offering a live web stream of many events, including Obama’s speech.
The UCC conference will be in Hartford at various locations through the middle of next week.