Message from our Minister
As you receive this newsletter, I will be attending 193rd `Aha Pae`aina of the Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ. It’s a Friday and Saturday event that is normally held in one of our churches but this year is being held at the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu. The `Aha Pae`aina is the yearly gathering of the state churches that make up the Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ here in Hawai`i. It’s hard to believe that this yearly gathering goes back to 1823. That was when Kamehameha II was still on the throne. Much has changed since then but the desire to be the Church that extends God’s love to these islands still remains the same.
But what is the United Church of Christ? I will be helping some students and individuals in discernment understand that question as I teach a section of our Polity course the day prior to the `Aha Pae`aina. As part of the main line denominations that make up American Christianity, the United Church of Christ is often classified as one of the progressive denominations. As a church with congregational polity that doesn’t mean everyone within the United Church of Christ would consider themselves as a progressive Christian.
Wikipedi-A, describes Progressive Christianity as a form of Christianity which is characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to "love one another" (John 15:17) within the teachings of Jesus Christ. This leads to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, tolerance, often through political activism.
Frankly, I think that’s a pretty good description of who the United Church of Christ is. In a statement for the 21st Century, the United Church of Christ describes itself as: “We, the United Church Christ, look toward the twenty-first Century with anticipation. We trust God’s promises. We are eager to respond to God’s call. We believe that God does have more truth and light yet to break forth from God’s holy word. We are a Church attentive to the Word of God. By God’s grace, we will be an attentive church. We commit ourselves anew to listen for God’s Word in Holy Scripture, in our rich heritage, in faithful witness, and in the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit so that we might discover God’s way for us.”
We are part of a very unique strain of Christianity that seeks to truly live out our understanding of Christ’s Gospel. The Community Church of Honolulu, stands proudly as an active member church of the United Church of Christ.