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Every denomination needs one of these...

First Congregational Church of Marshfield delays decision to leave UCC

Monday, January 07, 2008

First Congregational Church of Marshfield has delayed it's decision to leave the United Church of Christ. From The Patriot Ledger:

MARSHFIELD - Parishioners of First Congregational Church of Marshfield have
postponed a decision on whether to withdraw from the United Church of Christ
because of differences over such issues as gay marriage and global warming.

‘‘There was quick recognition that we were not ready to vote,’’ the Rev. Jim Howard, pastor, said after a two-hour meeting on Sunday attended by about 80 parishioners.

Members of the Green Harbor church began talking about breaking ties with the national church after a Nov. 4 sermon by a visiting clergyman that included strong words on hot-button political issues. The Rev. Jim Antal, president of the UCC’s Massachusetts Conference, was speaking during the church’s 375th anniversary celebration.

‘‘The main reason why that frustrated people so much was because (the Rev. Antal) was there to speak about the 375-year anniversary of our church,’’ parishioner Dave Kaiser said. ‘‘Instead, he chose to use our pulpit to speak about the positions of the UCC. We want the focus from our pulpit to be about spiritual issues.’’
In my last post on this, I mentioned that "a drive-by sermon from a Conference Minister seems pretty trivial". I do, however, disagree with Pastor Dan that the minister is somehow to blame:
Where the hell is Rev. Howard in all this? He sounds likes he's trying to be
a neutral arbiter, but there's not much middle ground in these things. If he's
fulfilling his duty to the denomination, he'd tell the congregation that he'd
walk if they left. He'd certainly tell them that they were being WATB's who
needed to get off the spiritual milk and onto some theological solid food. He'd
certainly not pose for a picture for the paper or give them enough patient
quotes to file a story. What gives?
Pastor Dan presumes that Rev. Howard's first responibilty is to the denomination rather than the spirtual well being of the church. The denomination (not just ours, but any denominaition) should never be the first priority - our first priority is fellowship in Christ. This sort of 'denomination first' junk leads to the 'herd mentality' where everyone plays follow the leader... which can sometimes lead to bad decisions where critical thinking gets thrown out the window in favor of "the denomination". The perfect example of this was when our denominational leaders were hell bent on passing a divestment from Israel resolution over the objections of the committee charged with studying the issue and the guy in charge of the denomination's investments. The delegates to General Synod (with rings firmly in their noses) voted in favor of the bad resolution because it was the official position of our leadership. Rev. Howard's priority should be on the spirtual well-being of the church, not cheerleading for the denomination.
posted by UCCtruths, Monday, January 07, 2008


It looks like this congregation has saved itself from some major embarrassment. To leave the denomination because of global warning? They might as well put a sign out in front of their church saying "No Science Allowed".

Congratulations to Marshfield. Let's all pray they continue serving the Lord in the UCC.
commented by Blogger David, 5:47 PM  
Gay marriage, global warming - you name it

At my old beloved church in Topsfield MA (1st Congreagtional Church) that was only the tip of the iceberg

They drove me and others out for DARING TO QUESTION THE AGENDA

The real issue is pulpit politics and respect for the conservatives in the congregation

where is your diversity Marshfield when it comes to Republcans and conservatives in the pews next to you

We all know about the UCC AGENDA

on a 375thh anniversary celebration no less

Have these people like Antal have no brains

and David - your "science" is widely disputed, but you knew that anyway and love it when you get to push your agenda
commented by Blogger Paul Jamieson, 12:02 AM  
No, Paul, you're wrong. There is no "scientific" dispute about global warming. It is NOT being debated among respected scientists. It is, however, being debated by politicians who have little understanding about both the global climate and science.

I miss the days when "conservative" meant small non-intrusive government, not a ideology which is both anti-intellectual and anti-science. I wish the real conservatives would make a comeback. ;(
commented by Blogger David, 1:09 PM  
no you are wrong

you moonbats want to shove your agenda down the congregation's throat

you feel it is your "DUTY"

Well its ourduty to stand up to you and SHOUT YOU DOWN

you are the real haters - kicking people out of churches and showing your silly bouncer ads that slander our Catholic bros and sisters

Don't start with me - I lived it and experienced firsthand what is happening in Marshfield and it is disgraceful

reminds me of the sermon our UCC Minister Craig Witcher gave on Thanksgiving 2002 about the nasty Pilgrims who put measles in the blankets - the real WMD he said

Happy Thanksgiving Craig, Merry Christmas!

commented by Blogger Paul Jamieson, 11:10 PM  
Well, Paul, thank god that science does not work that way. Science relies on objectivity and falsifiability, not who can shout the loudest.

We in the UCC have had a comparatively comfortable relationship with science in our 400 year old history in the Americas. Most congregationalists, and other mainline protestants, sided with evolution during the Scopes Monkey Trial. We have consistently stood with science, not against it.

Additionally, there is truly nothing to gain by advancing the reality of global climate change. Quite the opposite, there is a strong impetus to not reveal these findings as they require so much change from our civilization. Those who speak out against the reality of global climate change, however, are often acting in their own interests and are well compensated for it.

Blessings and Grace!
commented by Blogger David, 4:28 PM  
you r missing the big point David

The bad science is just one of the many irratating agenda items you liberals love to hammer people down on

The bigger issue is - why do you love to alientate conservatives in your own congregation with all the propaganda like gay marriage, global warming, "social justice", the hate for the President etc

My theory is that since Bush was fairly elected and then 9/11 and Republican control of Congress and the continued rise of the Evangelical churches, you liberals have been gnashing your teeth to see most people shifting to the right.

Like George Bailey said, "It galls ya"
commented by Blogger Paul Jamieson, 4:51 PM  
"looks like this congregation has saved itself from some major embarrassment"

This is not about global warming. Believe the jargon you read all of the time?

This is about separation of church and state. This UCC has a denial problem. And the problems stemming from claiming Bible belief yet the ability to change the Bible words to suit their own needs and desires.

The Congregational Church has always had open doors to all and always will, inspite of UCC and its hangups.

The Rev Anthol could have been a lot more respectful at this church and there are a multitude of questions that have yet to be answered. If the UCC is so wonderfully forthright, why not have had a strong rep. there at that meeting to answer some important questions. Ie. antisemeticism.

Separation of church and state, that is what this is about.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:30 PM  
Separation of church and state?? I'm sorry, now you've really confused me. How does a conference minister giving a sermon at one of his member congregations involve the state?
commented by Blogger David, 8:45 PM  

I haven't alienated anyone. I was drawn to my local UCC congregation because it is explicitly liberal and progressive. I live in the Bay Area. We really don't have many conservatives here. We are one of those liberal, quickly growing, and vibrant UCC congregations (which are, admittedly, small in number).

Blessings and Grace!
commented by Blogger David, 8:48 PM  
with great regret I left the UCC when it became apparent that it was a social organization intent on political conformity rather than a church devoted to focusing upon our relationship with God.
commented by Blogger jrc, 2:38 PM  
Clarification on leaving UCC: I was not a member of the Marshfield UCC. Rather I left the UCC as a denomination. It was with great regret as the UCC was my church through youth and young adulthood. The waning importance and membership of the UCC suggest I was far from alone.
commented by Blogger jrc, 10:27 AM  

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