Be the Book

In her sermon this morning at Cathedral of Hope UCC, Bishop Yvette Flunder called on those present to follow in the Way of Jesus - the very Jesus who read the from the Book of Isaiah, sat down, and became the Book (Luke 4:14-21). Jesus' Reading Isaiah 61 (NRSV) begins with these words: The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release Read More …

6 Decades of Decline in the United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ (UCC) was formed in 1957 as the result of the union of two Protestant denominations: the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches.  In 1957 the UCC included 8,283 congregations with 2,193,593 members.  Every decade since the formation has featured a decline in both total congregations and total members (statistical data sourced from the Fall 2018 edition of United Church of Christ: A Statistical Profile) Declining Read More …

The Bible Doesn’t Say That

Yesterday, I worshipped at Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas.  I heard the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ preach "Everything Happens for a Reason" as part of the Cathedral's current sermon series: The Bible Doesn't Say That. The two earlier messages in this series are You've Got to Forgive and Forget Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin And, the remaining message will be "God Won't Give You More Than You Can Read More …

Prioritizing Core Values

Core values are an essential part of organizational DNA.  They tell the story of what is important within a given church, non-profit organization, or for profit business.  And, core values should guide all that an organization is and does. Since core values are so significant they should be named often, and embodied always. Two faith-based organizations that I know well serve as good examples. Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ We believe we are here to serve, not to be served. Read More …

Two New UCC Worship Experiences

I'm accustomed to visiting a lot of churches.  In a 24 month period ending in November 2017, I was blessed to worship with more than 40 different communities of faith in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Over the next four months, however, I only managed to worship in one while serving as that congregation's visiting minister. Choosing Where To Worship The last three congregations I served were all affiliated with the United Church of Christ.  With these positive experiences in Read More …

Our Search for a Church is Over!

In March 2015, my wife, Susan, relocated to Denton, Texas from Naples, Florida.  Six months later I finished an interim ministry position in Southwest Florida and joined her. 70 Weeks of Searching  From late September 2015 through early February 2017 (17 months!) we embarked on a one of a kind journey I termed our "search for a church."  Despite our often conflicting professional travel schedules, we managed to worship 61 times in 36 different Mainline Protestant congregations within a Read More …

Restoring the Mainline’s Prophetic Voice

After 23 years at the Cathedral of Hope (UCC) in Dallas, TX, Michael Piazza accepted a call to the Virginia-Highland Church (UCC) earlier this year.  Piazza has been an important voice in the progressive Christian movement for many years and currently serves as Co-Executive Director of The Center for Progressive Renewal.  In theSpring/Summer edition of the Center's bi-annual publication, New Times, Piazza offers these challenging words:  The time is overdue for mainline churches to find their Read More …