Jim's Reflection
June 2017

One thing we probably don't talk about enough at Orinda Community Church is what it means to be part of a larger body: that of the United Church of Christ. Our denomination is one of the denominations at the forefront of Progressive/Liberal Christianity, and seeks to be a leader in the ways of faith, love, justice, and mercy. In fact, our denomination was the first to ordain an African-American pastor, a woman, an openly gay person, and the first to affirm same gender marriage equality.

Just recently, the United Church of Christ leadership has been meeting, refining input from members of the denomination, in hopes of clarifying the U.C.C.'s purpose and mission.

The new UCC Purpose Statement comes from the Gospel of Matthew: To love God with all our heart, mind, soul,
and strength and our neighbor as ourselves, and the Mission Statement reads: United in Spirit and inspired by God's grace, we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.
And the vision of the U.C.C. is: United in Christ's love, a just world for all.

Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, said:

"We all bear responsibility for living out our shared mission. We will not achieve our full potential - nor maintain our full capacity for health, vitality, and relevance - without a clear sense of missional purpose and calling. This effort to identify that was a critical step in the direction of our future health and vitality - but it will only matter if we can all find common cause in this and commit fully, with passion, and without reserve to its undertaking." He also added that we must remember,
"That love in action envisions a just world for all."

We at Orinda Community Church share in the purpose, mission, and vision of the United Church of Christ. We are called to be a church of welcome and love; and to work
for a just world for all. Church staff and ministry leaders
will keep trying to lead us into ways to do this, but we also need your ideas and energy. So if you have dreams for
how we might do a better job of being the church, please reach out to me, or a member of church leadership. We want to empower you, and work with you, as we seek to be the church God calls us to be.

Excited to be the church with you,