Our halcyon days are over and now it is the era of the “free church”, unfettered by bureaucracy, by denominational hierarchies, by old stuffy ways and old stuffy white guys (and gals). The vibrant young megachurches, house churches and neighborhood churches seem to get along just fine without the creeds or catechisms, the codes of conduct, the rules and regulations that bog down those old fashioned “mainline Protestants.”
Until…something like this happens.
The state of North Carolina restricted the free practice of religion and my little denomination, the United Church of Christ, just 1 million members or so, stood up to fight for the Constitution of the United States.
They stood up to fight for the separation of church and state that our founders so carefully crafted into our government.
They stood up for the freedom of churches to be free, for pastors to preach without fear, and marry whom they will without the threat of going to jail.
I realize again why I belong to the United Church of Christ. Why I chose to join it on a Sunday in October of 1990.
I am stronger with others. We are wiser, braver, more caring and more courageous together. I can’t be the Body of Christ on my own.
When all 1 million (or so) of my church members stand up with the pastors of North Carolina we make a difference.
That is why I belong!
That’s why I still belong to the United Church of Christ, even if the “glory days” of big churches and big membership seem to be over. The glory of standing for the right, of fighting for justice, and of standing for the freedom that America stands for – that glory never ends. That work never ends. And we can only do it together.
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Andy CastroLang is senior pastor at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ. She is deeply committed to civil discourse between individuals and throughout our community; in interreligious conversation, private conversation, intergenerational conversation and yes, even in political conversation. She has been a supporter of SpokaneFaVS since its inception because she supports this creative effort at thoughtful community conversation.