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UCCtruths

Every denomination needs one of these...

He's Back: Wright Makes A U Turn

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It now appears that Jeremiah Wright isn't leaving Trinity United Church of Christ after all... From Time Magazine:
Wright was officially to have stepped down last Sunday, June 1. And from the pulpit at 7:30 a.m. that day, Wright's hand-picked successor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, preached what should have been his first sermon as senior pastor of Trinity, one of the Chicago's largest congregations and among the most influential religious institutions in America. Instead, on church bulletins on June 1, Moss was identified simply as "pastor" rather than "senior pastor," even as Wright assumed the title "pastor emeritus." Indeed, Trinity members familiar with the developments say that on May 27, Moss was summoned to the church's massive brown sanctuary for a meeting that included Wright, several church board members and other senior leaders. According to those sources, Moss, 37, expected the meeting to finalize transition plans. Instead, Wright suggested the board merely declare Moss "senior pastor-elect" because the younger cleric needed "supervision" — effectively ensuring Wright remains Trinity's preacher-in-chief. Wright's essential argument hinges on a technicality: Moss is an ordained Baptist minister who has yet to be fully ordained in the United Church of Christ, the predominantly white protestant denomination of which the roughly 8,500-member Trinity is the largest congregation.
The national office is quick to clarify our polity:
Officials at the United Church of Christ's national headquarters in Cleveland are aware of the leadership tension at Trinity. However, they say, individual U.C.C. churches are autonomous and the national body can do little to intervene. Barbara Powell, a U.C.C. headquarters spokeswoman, noted that "Trinity didn't follow the normal U.C.C. guidelines for the [pastoral] search" (Wright handpicked Moss, apparently without a formal search committee), but said it was hard to imagine that Moss wouldn't successfully complete the ordination process.
Whether Trinity followed the search and call process or not really isn't relevant - local UCC churches are free to select any pastor they like regardless if they are ordained in the United Church of Christ. I also wonder if it's any of their business to be dishing to the media the circumstances of Moss' selection - that is a matter for Trinity to communicate.

As far as the church goes, Trinity is turning into soap opera thanks primarily to Wright. It's just sad that they have let him drag the church through this mess.
posted by UCCtruths, Wednesday, June 04, 2008

3 Comments:

You say that, “Trinity is turning into soap opera thanks primarily to Wright. It’s just sad that they have let him drag the church through this mess”.

The reality is that Trinity searched out for this mess. If you read Julia Speller’s book, “Walkin’ the Talk: Keepin the Faith in Africentric Congregations”, you will find that Trinity was a conservative church with a dwindling congregation that was on the brink of shutting down.

But before Rev. Wright came to Trinity - leaders like Vallmer Jordan and Interim Rev. Sheares II laid out the church’s new direction with a reliance on race baiting to build up the congregation. It was a wildly successful endeavor.

The recent debacle by Rev. Pfleger shows that this race baiting is still very popular at Trinity. This church and its congregation profits by creating race-baiting hysteria. It is a medieval-like ignorance that doesn’t belong in the 21st Century!
commented by Blogger Freedomnow, 5:43 PM  
"It is a medieval-like ignorance that doesn’t belong in the 21st Century!"

Nor... does it belong in Christianity!

Jessica
commented by Blogger JESS, 9:15 PM  
The followings is from a Chicago Defender article.

Setting the record straight, Moss told parishioners, “On May 30, 2008, Trinity’s board of directors, in response to the enthusiastic request and recommendation of Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, and the pastoral relations committee, by unanimous vote, bestowed upon Rev. Otis Moss III the awesome responsibility and honor of being named senior pastor-elect.

This was contemplated by the leadership succession plan and adopted by the board of directors in 2005.” “The truth is now out,” a member said after the service, and declined to comment further. Parishioners were asked to not speak to the media regarding church matters.

Moss, 37, an ordained Baptist minister from Cleveland, Ohio, said the designation as senior pastor- elect is accurate because he must meet certain requirements of the United Church of Christ before he can be installed as head of the church. He expects to fulfill the UCC's obligations this fall. In the interim, he has been assigned full pastoral and administrative management responsibilities set forth in the bylaws, Moss reiterated during his second service as lead pastor.

And speaking about the church’s bylaws, Trinity’s new leader said the title “senior pastor” is an informal one and is not reflected in the bylaws. The designation was bestowed upon Wright by the late Rev. Barbara Allen. The title was unofficially adopted by the church, and the board of directors will amend the bylaws at its July board meeting to include “senior pastor” as an official title.
commented by Blogger wsmyth, 1:52 PM  

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