The New Ark United Church of Christ seeks to be a diverse, faithful community in which a person finds support and nurture for spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth. As an Open and Affirming congregation, people of all sexual orientations are welcome in our life and ministry.
Open and Affirming statement made by the New Ark United Church of Christ To All of God's People:
In Paul's letter to the Romans, he writes, "Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." (Romans 15:7) To exclude persons from the church and society because of sexual orientation or on any other basis withers away the Body of Christ. When one part of the body suffers, all others suffer with it (I Corinthians 12:26). Instead, we vow to do all within our power to promote justice and healing through our commitment to being an Open and Affirming Congregation. As people of faith and followers of the Word, therefore, we invite all God's children to the table of God's abundant blessing. We welcome into our community persons of every gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ability, age, race, nationality, economic and social status, faith background, religious training, marital standing, and family structure. We welcome any person who joins us through the same affirmations of faith and encourage them to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings, and joys of our church family. In return, we offer our love and support, no matter where you are in your faith and life journey.
Open and affirming statement first adopted in 1990.
Open and affirming statement revised and reaffirmed on May 1, 2011.
The New Ark United Church of Christ as an Earthwise Congregation
Approved August 1, 2010
Whereas, our United Church of Christ General Synod has passed resolutions on the Integrity of Creation, Justice and Peace as well as on Global Warming and encourages local congregations to take action on them;
, the Bible is clear in its call for us to be caretakers and good stewards of God's creation (ex., Genesis 2:15, Psalm 24);
, the New Ark United Church of Christ passed an Energy Stewardship Resolution in October 2007;
, the New Ark United Church of Christ has installed solar panels to curtail reliance on outside electricity;
, the New Ark United Church of Christ continues explore ways to make our building greener, such as better insulation and:
, the New Ark United Church of Christ encourages its congregants to engage in Earth-friendly practices such as use of glass mugs and free trade coffee following worship each Sunday, aluminum can recycling, sale of CFL electrical bulbs, programmable thermostats, grass mulching, and a green electronic newsletter option;
, the New Ark United Church of Christ continues to engage in education regarding our Earth's stewardship during youth Christian Education, adult Christian Education, frequent displays, and newsletter articles;
, the New Ark United Church of Christ supports the participation of member, Jane Schaefer, on the UCC Energy and Environment Task Force (EETF);
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the New Ark United Church of Christ:
- Officially be known as an EARTHWISE CONGREGATION
- Continue to explore new and better ways to make our facility and our use of it more environmentally friendly
- Provide suggestions to the congregation for living in a greener life
- Demonstrate a commitment to environmental activism through our outreach activities
Maintain a link on our church website dedicated to our Earthwise Church status, related activities, and "green" suggestions.
The New Ark United Church of Christ is committed to reaching out beyond ourselves. We want our facility to serve our community as well as to be a house of worship, study, and fellowship for our congregation.
As a Just Peace church, we strive to do justice and to seek peace in word and deed. Over the years, this commitment to service has found expression in support of food banks, housing programs, hunger walks, a single parent program, Christmas baskets, a soup kitchen, work parties, and involvement in anti-racism efforts.
Resolution to Renew our Commitment to Nonviolence as a Just Peace Church
While violence in our society has been an ongoing issue, recent events that strike at the heart of our safety and security have raised violence in our society front and center. For followers of a non-violent Jesus Christ, it is time to re-energize and re-commit to being a Just Peace Church.
"And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying 'Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace!'"
"Peace" was declared a priority of the United Church of Christ in 1981, and in 1985 the General Synod called on all settings of the UCC to become Just Peace Churches. Just Peace was defined as the interrelation of friendship, justice, and common security from violence. In 1995 the Resolution on "Violence in our Society and the World" was adopted by the General Synod. In 2013 our violent society and violent world needs to hear the voice of the peacemaker. As followers of Christ, it is imperative that we as individuals, congregations, associations, conference, and the denomination take action to alleviate violence.
TEXT OF RESOLUTION:
, thousands of people are killed yearly in acts of interpersonal violence even though many acts of violent death among women, children, and elderly are reported as accidents or other natural causes;
, 4,828 young people ages 10-24 were victims of homicide in 2010 and 707,000 treated in emergency rooms for physical assaults in 2011
, in surveys from around the world 10-69% of women report being physically assaulted by an intimate male partner at some time in their lives
, there are approximately 207,754 sexual assaults in the US every year and 44% of those are to youth under age 18
, 5,961,568 cases of elder abuse was recorded in 2010
, in some countries up to one-third of girls face forced sexual initiation and thousands are forced into prostitution or violence in such settings as schools, workplaces, or health care institutions
, among those aged 15-44 self-inflicted injuries are the fourth leading cause of death and the sixth leading cause of ill-health and disability
, more than half of the deaths due to warring conflicts are civilians
, warring conflicts cause destruction of infrastructure and disrupt vital services such as medical aid and food distribution and displace people from their homes
, the World Health Organization recognizes violence as a public health issue
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
that the United Church of Christ reassert its Just Peace stance and both publicly and actively oppose violence that is physical, sexual, psychological, and/or due to neglect and recommit to its Just Peace priorities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the denomination, conferences, associations, and local churches
Data gathered from:
- revisit and reaffirm commitment to being a Just Peace church
- use educational materials with congregations on issues related to violence, covering topics from personal conflict resolution to world sex slavery
- offer parenting support to those raising children
- encourage life skills training for high risk children and adolescents
- focus worship experiences on the hope that followers of Christ have to change the world in non-violent ways
- collaborate with other faith communities and secular agencies working to alleviate violence
- study government policies (local, state, and national), supporting those that empower the poor
- advocate for strengthened data collection and research on violence
- lobby for additional mental health services
- support expanded gun regulation
- take public stands against violence
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Global Campaign for Violence Prevention for the World Health Organization
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
- National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics
Resolution on Energy Stewardship
Approved October 21, 2007
Whereas, the New Ark United Church of Christ is part of the UCC General Synod's Just Peace Church initiative; and,
, the New Ark United Church of Christ acknowledges, with the Twenty-second General Synod's resolution stating that though "General Synod has voted broad environmental resolutions and the Integrity of Creation, Justice and Peace priority in the distant past, these broad policies do not give specific or timely policy guidance on current environmental issues such as global warming," (quote from the UCC Resolution: Global Warming
, 1999); and,
Whereas, the New Ark United Church of Christ further agrees with the 1999 resolution that more specific statements and actions regarding energy stewardship would strengthen our ministry as we respond to the call to be good stewards of God's creation; and,
Whereas, the New Ark United Church of Christ concurs with the Twenty-sixth General Synod of the United Church of Christ, in its "Resolution on Climate Change," that there is "Christian complicity in the damage human beings have caused to the Earth's climate system and other planetary life systems," and further, that it is time for "recommitment to the Christian vocation of responsible stewardship of God's creation." (quote from General Synod Resolution on Climate Change, 2007);
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the New Ark United Church of Christ thereby formally joins the UCC General Synod's initiatives of 1999 and 2007 in both "acknowledging the severe nature of this global warming crisis" (2007) and in resolving to be more specific, deliberate, and visible witnesses to the stewardship of the Earth's limited energy resources (1999) by:
- Affirming the UCC Twenty-second General Synod's Resolution on Global Warming and the Twenty-sixth General Synod's Resolution on Climate Change;
- Accepting the responsibility of the institutional church to educate, inspire, advocate and promote individual and congregational lifestyle changes by declaring energy stewardship as one of the mission priorities of the New Ark United Church of Christ and by encouraging and supporting individuals and/or a congregational mission group whose focus is leadership on energy stewardship;
- Pledging to be more deliberate and specific as individuals and/or as a congregation in promoting energy stewardship, including more diligently using energy-efficient light bulbs, recycling, making public statements about energy stewardship, reducing the use of disposables, contacting government officials, and, to the best of the church's ability, transitioning our building to a more "green" facility, to name a few;
- Understanding the need, and taking action, to publicize the adoption of this resolution and its articles (as defined also in the 1999 and 2007 Synod Resolutions) so as to address the urgency of this crisis; the "Christian complicity …" and responsibilities; and the need to be more visible witnesses to the stewardship of "God's precious planet Earth's" limited energy resources.
"...the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof..."
We are the stewards of God's creation