Living in Full Communion

by Rev. Carol Barriger You may know that for many years I have been involved in the AIDS LifeCycle bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  The work – the ministry – of lifting the stigma of HIV/AIDS, providing services, and helping to find a cure, is near to my heart.  I have raised nearly $100,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in donations to support my rides.  This year I chose to be a sweep roadie, helping cyclists with mechanical, medical and yes, pastoral needs on the road.  We were all about encouragement and relationship. My roadie partner…
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Let’s Talk: About the Dance of Rage

by Rev. Dr. Diane Weible The Roe vs. Wade decision may have been handed down after I was born but I was young. For all of my awareness of life, women had the freedom to make decisions for their own bodies and their own lives. At least, until now. I grieve what this decision means to half the population of this country who is now told that other people can tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Strangers can say that no matter what the circumstance of your pregnancy, it is your responsibility to carry a…
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Let’s Talk: About Annual Gathering Keynote

Annual Gathering is just two weeks away! I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in person and, for some, virtually as we gather at Sonoma State University. I want to share additional information about our keynote address, which will be provided by The Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM) of the United Church of Christ. To that end, I am sharing below the most recent correspondence I have received from Jamar Doyle, President and CEO of CHHSM, describing what he and Paula Barker, Senior Executive Assistant for Events and Administration, will share during their time with us.…
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Pastoral Letter in response to clergy sex abuse in Southern Baptist Convention

Dear Siblings in Christ, Like many of you, we are deeply affected by the news about leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention choosing institutional preservation over protecting victim-survivors of clergy abuse across more than 15 years. That this happened in another denomination and not our United Church of Christ is not a salve. Abuse by a religious leader is never acceptable, and those who aid in the perpetration of abuse are just as guilty as the ones who directly abuse. Jesus Christ, as head of the church, has modeled for us the kind of right relationship demanded of our faith…
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Let’s Talk: About Treatment

by the Rev. Daniel Ross-Jones, MPA, associate Conference minister I’m not a physician, so I have no idea if my presumption is correct: I have always presumed it is easier to diagnose an illness than treat it. Of course, there are certain illnesses that elude easy diagnosis, and I acknowledge them – yet taken on the whole, I’ve always presumed that the challenging half of the equation is on the treatment side of the formula. In the fifth chapter of John, Jesus encounters a group of people manifesting symptoms of illness gathered around the pool at Bethesda in Jerusalem. Jesus…
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Let’s Talk: About Collective Action

by the Rev. Lacey Hunter, NCNC-UCC Justice & Witness Team Leader   “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has.”-Margaret Mead Throughout human history we witness small groups of people coming together to build collective power and create change that has reverberations throughout society. The Black Panthers worked for Black self-determination by launching meal programs to ensure that Black children were receiving nourishing meals and in so doing, created what would become free school lunches across US public schools and a new vision of a just…
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Let’s Talk: About Roe v. Wade

by Conference Minister Diane Weible As many of you know, our Annual Gathering theme last year was centered around The Elephant in the Room when it comes to racism and white supremacy. Today I want to reflect of the part of the elephant that is reproductive justice and the threat to the rights of women, especially women of color, to make decisions about their own body. If a state bans abortions, some women can go to other states and still make decisions for themselves. Some women, however, and those women are disproportionately women of color, will lose the choice to…
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Let’s Talk: About Connecting with One Another

by Conference Minister Diane Weible Earlier this week I was talking to the Rev. Tami Groves, pastor and teacher of First Congregational Church in San Francisco. She was telling me about Recovery Café, a ministry located at their church which opened its doors during a critical time: during the pandemic. This ministry makes such an impact on the Tenderloin neighborhood where their church is located and is in need of our help in order to continue.  I will share more about this invitation for our support in a bit. First, I want to share a sacred experience I had in…
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Let’s Talk: About Annual Gathering

by Diane Weible As we continue to build on our 2020 Annual Gathering theme,“The Elephant in the Room,” and our 2021 theme, “The Elephant Speaks: Listen. Reflect. Learn,” we are expand our opportunity for reflection even further: “Learn. Love. Act.” Is our 2022 Annual Gathering theme. As our Annual Gathering Planning Team was brainstorming what we would like to see from a keynote presentation, we decided we want to focus, in particular, on the word “Act”. For the past two years (at least) we have been encouragingLearning—learning to hear stories in a way that invites perspectives outside our single narrative—out…
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Let’s Talk: About Doing Thomas

by Conference Minister Diane Weible I have preached on the story of Doubting Thomas more than any other scripture passage. As Conference Minister, it is not unusual for me to be asked to preach the Sunday after Easter, which, traditionally, includes this story in the Revised Common Lectionary. My feelings about Thomas have shifted over the years. This year I was really surprised by a connection one of my lectionary sources made of this passage to passages that come before this one. While I was aware of each passage, I hadn’t seen the connection until it was pointed out to…
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