Wednesday August 12th – “The Half-Way Mark” (366 words)

The United Church is becoming an intra-cultural church. We are striving to step beyond tolerating others who are different. At this meeting of General Council we are walking with and learning from our Christian brothers and sisters – French, Japanese, Korean, African and more. In 1926, three Protestant denominations came together to form a new, stronger, richer and fuller being called the United Church. Today as a church we are working toward that kind of transformation.
This week enjoyed the rhythm and beauty of many languages as we have worshipped and done our work. Symbols and traditions from other cultures have enriched our understanding. We have embraced our brothers and sisters in the faith with joy. We are learning to be a church in which we truly value, respect and welcome all people.
And there is more. We have incorporated what is called green culture. Gone are the endless paper plates and Styrofoam cups. We carry our own water bottles to taps and jugs to be refilled with local water. The trash cans at UBC are not overflowing because most of what we use is recycled. We share print resources in order to save paper. We’re truly conscious of what we use.
The youth at General Council are leading us. Tuesday, they were an integral part of the discussion about our church’s position on the Israeli/Palestine conflict. This was their message to us. “I’ve been to Palestine. I’ve seen the poverty, the oppression. That wall has six hundred stops. By the time a poor farmer going to market gets through them his fresh fruit has rotted in the cart. We have to use more than words to express our horror at what is happening to the Palestinian people. It was a United Church program that sent me to Palestine to see what was happening. Listen to us.”
Monday morning we sang, “I Am a Child of God”. The words of that song declare the wonder and beauty and confidence of knowing and living the acceptance that Jesus taught. The United Church has stepped beyond having youth and people of other races as tokens among us. They are transforming us. I am grateful.

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