UCC Israel

June 13, 2017

Anti-Israel Stance Piles On UCC Woes

United Church of Christ (UCC) officials unveiled a new logo for the Mainline Protestant denomination this month: a blue comma evoking the church’s motto that “God is still speaking”. While the logo has been updated “to reflect both tradition and innovation within the church as it faces the challenges and opportunities of Christian witness in the coming decades,” officials could have succinctly communicated the UCC with another simple image: a downward pointing arrow.

Newly-released 2016 figures show the progressive denomination in steep decline, reporting a loss of 34,488 members in 2016, to a total of 880,383 members (a loss of 3.9 percent). Backlash against the denomination’s anti-Israel advocacy is driving at least some of the recent decline.

A resolution passed by the UCC embracing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) passed at the 2015 General Synod called for the UCC and its conferences, members and local churches to “divest any direct or substantive indirect holdings in companies profiting from or complicit in human rights violations arising from the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the state [sic] of Israel;” “boycott goods identified as produced in or using the facilities of illegal settlements located in the occupied Palestinian territories;” and to “join boycotts of such goods in their local communities.”

The UCC has been locked into membership loss for decades, having shed more than half of its membership since the denomination formed from a merger of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1957. But 2016 marks the first year when direct evidence of BDS activity can be seen as contributing to the denomination’s decline.

The Church by the Sea in Bal Harbour, Florida, which was affiliated with the UCC, rejected the denomination’s 2015 BDS resolution, and subsequently quit the denomination.

According to the Jerusalem Post, in an open letter, The Church By The Sea said it “unequivocally repudiates and rejects the [UCC] call to boycott and divest [from Israel]”. In addition the Church “has also withdrawn all of its investment funds (almost $3m.) from the United Church of Christ.”

Unlike the Episcopal Church, Southern Baptist Church and United Methodist Church, the bulk of UCC members are not located in the American South. Instead, the heartland of the Cleveland, Ohio-headquartered UCC is the Great Lakes region, followed by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

All 38 UCC regional conferences posted declining membership in 2016, although some areas reported much larger declines than others. Only 8 percent of UCC members are located in the South, but the region appears to have taken the largest hit. The Florida Conference alone lost 3,129 members, dropping to 17,852 (down nearly 15 percent in a single year). The numerical loss in Florida was roughly equivalent to that of the Connecticut Conference, which has nearly four times as many members. Similarly, the Southeast Conference (Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle) lost 3,794 members, down to 7,918 members total (down more than 32 percent in a single year).

The South Central conference (Texas and Louisiana) dropped 1,648 members to 10,288 total (down 16 percent). The Southern Conference (North Carolina and southern Virginia) dropped 458 members to 28,228 total (down 1.6 percent).

Conferences in the U.S. South have taken a financial hit after several congregations chose to either withhold or pare back their conference giving.

There is also evidence that disagreements centered upon the redefinition of marriage are hurting the UCC, even though the denomination has a reputation for progressive social policy. In 2015 the UCC board voted to send a $50,000 one-time grant to the southern conference, explaining that giving there had decreased after the UCC joined a clergy lawsuit against the state of North Carolina demanding the ability to solemnize same-sex civil marriages. Officials at the national setting (the UCC church headquarters) sought to reward the Southern Conference for making what they believed was a prophetic statement, but some congregations and individuals decided that they were not willing to fund such a move by their own conference.

While congregations and individuals have departed, some progressive clergy from other churches have moved toward the UCC. In 2016, Kansas United Methodist Pastor Cynthia Meyer, who is in a same-sex relationship, was placed on involuntary leave of absence by her denomination, later moving to serve as an interim pastor in a Topeka United Church of Christ congregation.

In June of 2015, the denomination announced that it had entered into an agreement with a Georgia-based property management firm to sell its headquarters and an adjacent hotel that the church owned. The UCC will lease the building back for another two decades.

Last summer, UCC Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD) studies were released that confirmed dire forecasts. The first, Futuring the United Church of Christ: 30-Year Projections, showed that over the next three decades, the number of UCC congregations will decline from over 5,100 churches today to approximately 3,600 churches. During the same time period, the number of UCC members will drop precipitously, from 1.1 million to just under 200,000 adherents.

4 Responses to Anti-Israel Stance Piles On UCC Woes

  1. “New figures from the liberal United Church of Christ show all 38 regional conferences in decline”

    Must be the ejector seats. Seriously, another huge loss for a “church” that is indistinguishable from the world.

    “United Church of Christ (UCC) officials unveiled a new logo for the Mainline Protestant denomination this month: a blue comma evoking the church’s motto that “God is still speaking”.”

    But those wolves didn’t believe what God said the first time in his word. Why would God tell them anything new?

  2. Janness Abraham says:

    The UCC started this nonsense with fervor in 2005, and why I left my lifelong church a First Congregational Church founded in my hometown in 1842. The founders are spinning in their graves. I searched for the truth and eventually found it in the Catholic Church in 2010. The Israel thing was really upsetting & when I asked the pastor why we’d reject God’s chosen people in the Old Testament he told me we don’t believe in the Old Testament anymore! That started my journey on finding the truth and I found that most Protestant churches were headed down the same path. My old church has lost over 50% of its members since then. Pathetic how they embrace destroying the church by these continued lies and misguide their people.

  3. Bbbs53 says:

    Every time a church deviates from the Bible it falls prey to the very forces it pretends to abhor. There is NO provision for same sex “marriage”. Nor is there provision for the anti Israeli position. These liberal morons have to read the book, not make it up as they see fit. A pox on you all!

  4. I can only plant a seed: You and God must make it grow and He gives everyone free will to Believe anything they want.

    My prayer request: I pray that God will give everyone there eyes to see and ears to hear, knowledge and wisdom in understanding the Holy Words of the Almighty God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Time is short !!!

    What’s going on in this World? Most of cain’s descendants are here (kenites).

    Zechariah 14, V2: For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
    Google EMP, Electro Magnetic Pulse. Electrical (computers, cars, electricity, etc) will not work.

    The Temple was built about 15 or 20 years ago for the antichrist and it is setting on that Rock, just waiting for the anti-christ. The stock Market will crash and the EU was formed with 10 Nations (then there was 13 and now 19) and will go belly up (bankrupt), then the deadly wound of the 10 nations is in play.
    Revelation 12,V9: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out unto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. There will be World Peace for 3 ½ days (Daniel 9, V27).

    My KJV Bible talks about 3 Generations (40th 70th 120th). If we are in the 70th Generation (Parable of the Fig Tree). Psalms 90, V10 The days of our years are threescore (60) years and ten (10); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away (Spiritual Body here on Earth).

    Note: If you believe in the Rapture Myth (Man’s Tradition) and want to be the first to go (two in the field working), you will worship the antichrist:.
    II Thessalonians 2, V11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
    Matthew 7, V23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Those written in the Book of Life of the Lamb will be blotted out.

    Revelation 3, V10 Because you have kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation (arrival of satan, the antichrist in Israel), which shall come upon all the world, to try them who dwell upon the earth.

    Revelation 22, V21 The Grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

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