We Have a Long Way to Go

The United Church of Christ, a predominately European American denomination, has issued a response to the brouhaha surrounding Trinity, Chicago, and its retired Pastor, Jeremiah Wright:

Chicago’s Trinity UCC is ‘great gift to wider church family’

Written by J. Bennett Guess
March 14, 2008

In the wake of misleading attacks on its mission and ministry, Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ is being lauded by United Church of Christ leaders across the nation for the integrity of its worship, the breadth of its community involvement and the depth of its commitment to social justice.

“Trinity United Church of Christ is a great gift to our wider church family and to its own community in Chicago,” says UCC General Minister and President John H. Thomas. “At a time when it is being subjected to caricature and attack in the media, it is critical that all of us express our gratitude and support to this remarkable congregation, to Jeremiah A. Wright for his leadership over 36 years, and to Pastor Otis Moss III, as he assumes leadership at Trinity.”

Thomas says he has been saddened by news reports that “present such a caricature of a congregation that been such a great blessing.”

“These attacks, many of them motivated by their own partisan agenda, cannot go unchallenged,” Thomas emphasizes. “It’s time for all of us to say ‘No’ to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends.”

Located in the heart of Chicago’s impoverished Southside, Trinity UCC’s vast array of ministries include career development and college placement, tutorial and computer services, health care and support groups, domestic violence programs, pastoral care and counseling, bereavement services, drug and alcohol recovery, prison ministry, financial counseling and credit union, housing and economic development, dozens of choral, instrumental and dance groups, and diverse programming for all ages, including youth and senior citizens.

There’s much more. I recommend it be read in its entirety.

The UCC is brave enough also to include comments after the essay, which present a range of opinions, from praising Trinity and Pastor Wright to condemning him. The comments are interesting to me in that they show how far we have to go in the “national dialogue” on race, which was (coincidentally?) interrupted by Ken Starr’s release of the Monica Lewinsky material.

And we do have far to go. As a white male, it is not my prerogative to say we do not. I can only observe, and conclude the best I can. Looking at the comments, and hearing the cable bobble-heads, I conclude we do. For sure.

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