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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Moving On

Let's start an argument before we go to church in the morning.

Does anyone really care anymore when churches appoint ministers who are not heterosexual?

If it were a Southern Baptist church or an independent charismatic church they would. But when I read about a very famous UCC church in New Haven taking this step, I laugh and say, "So what? Who cares?"

Mark Tooley addresses the decline of this historic denomination:

The spiritual descendant of New England's old Puritans, the UCC can claim an historical and social pedigree equal to the Episcopal Church. Both denominations are well-heeled, well educated and disproportionately comprised of social and political elites. Both are also liberal-controlled and suffering steep membership decline.

Despite all of its welcoming and affirming, the UCC has lost one million members over the last 40 years, or over 40 percent of its original membership. Like the Episcopal Church, the UCC remains overwhelmingly a denomination of the white, upper-middle class. Minorities and working-class whites have not been ejected by the UCC but are not attracted to its brand of New England-style liberal Protestantism.

Last year's decision by the UCC to become the first major U.S. denomination formally to endorse same-sex "marriage" only contributed to the UCC's membership plunge. At least one hundred congregations have voted to leave the UCC just since 2005, as recorded by www.faithfulandwelcoming.org. The ultimate number probably will be several times that.

According to the UCC, dozens of "gay-friendly" congregations are seeking to affiliate with the UCC. But they are not likely to compensate for the annual loss of tens of thousands of members. In 2004 alone, the UCC lost over 30,000.

Of course a part of us laments these developments, but at a fundamental level we also don't care any more. We are moving on and becoming more busy doing what we were supposed to be doing all along.

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