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Monday, June 18, 2007

Franklin church breaks away from UCC, goes independent

The Norwich Bulletin has run an interesting piece on the Franklin Congregational Church, which recently elected to leave the United Church of Christ. Its pastor is Al Stewart:

He was working in Waterbury when he agreed to become pastor of the Franklin Congregational Church only if it left the United Church of Christ [UCC], a denomination he felt had become too politically involved and very liberal, particularly in its support of same-sex marriage and homosexual ministers....

In the time leading up to the split, Stewart said the Connecticut Conference of the UCC sent a letter to Franklin members to try to discredit his qualifications as a minister.

Eastern Regional Minister, the Rev. Lois Happe, declined to comment on the letter.

"It's always sad when a church feels they are no longer able to sustain their connection to the United Church of Christ," she said.

Happe said though the UCC nationally supported same-sex marriage, it encourages individual congregations to act autonomously in their position on the issue.

"There is a diversity of opinion on how to regard interpretations of Scripture," she said, noting the issue of homosexuality has caused rifts in many mainline denominations.

Of course there is a diversity of opinion: Romans 1 is now considered hate speech.

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