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Witness For Justice #852 Three Great Loves General Minister and President

With its new Mission Statement, the United Church of Christ is committed to exploring what it takes to build a just world for all by simply loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

To help the entire denomination not just speak those good words but live them out in tangible, meaningful ways we have also committed to participating in the Three Great Loves mission initiative.

This is, first of all, an invitation to every setting of our denomination to practice love of children, love of neighbor, and love of creation.

Every day across the life of the UCC - in congregations, through our Council for Health and Human Service Ministries agencies, in Conferences, at seminaries and historically related colleges, on army bases and in hospitals where our chaplains serve – love is freely offered and changes lives.

This is not simply a call to action, though. It is also an invitation to share the stories of the impact your love creates. I travel the world and the country witnessing your good works and hearing the testimonies of those whose lives are changed by your love. It is an honor for me to bear witness to, and to hold as a treasure, those good works. This initiative is an opportunity not just to practice love, but to create new ways of hearing across the life of the denomination the powerful stories of impact told by those whose lives and worlds changed because of what you do.

The Three Great Loves mission initiative serves as a way for us all to embody and incarnate a missional commitment to love neighbor and build a just world for all. It will be our concentrated effort to focus our reason for being on the calls to love and justice: two themes consistently raised in the sacred stories we find in our Scriptures and used to describe what is to be found in the heart of God and in the ministry and message of Jesus.

What would it look like for an entire denomination to focus its attention this way? We are going to find out.

Over the next two years, discover new ways to love children, to love neighbor, and to love creation.

When that love changes a life or your community, we are asking that you not keep that story a secret. Share it with the world. Our UCNews site is already posting stories almost daily (it is really hard to keep up with all that your commitments to love and justice make possible!) on the work you are doing and the impact it is creating. Write to us and tell us what you did and the difference it made. We will commit to curating and narrating your stories of impact. Go often to either UCNews or the Three Great Loves web pages and check out what your family in faith is doing every day.

Nothing short of changing the world as a fulfillment of our mission is what we are about here. As your General Minister and President, I have the joy of watching your love in action. You make me very proud.

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It’s Here Come And Experience True Worship!

In March, we introduced you to gospel sensation, Sherri Bryant, who had recently released her new single, “You Are Greater.”

This song took us through Sherri’s personal journey from fear to faith as she faced the possibility of losing her home to foreclosure.

After seeing how God brought her through that time in her life, Sherri began writing and singing songs directly to God thanking Him for His incredible grace. And now that Sherri’s album is complete, she would love for you to join her and her friends at a concert celebrating our magnificent God and the release of her new CD, True Worship.

Come with us as we take some time away from our busy lives to sing songs to God that come from deep down in our hearts.

The concert will take place Saturday, August 5, 2017, 7:30 pm, at City Blessing Church

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18901 Amar Road in Walnut, California 91789.

Tickets are $5.00 at the door.

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A Child Advocate's Beatitudes

Below is a prayer for child advocates. Teachers and school administrators are always on the front lines advocating for children so maybe one of them could use this today as s/he is preparing for the new school year. They are not alone. Parents and grandparents and all who care for children and strive to be good role models for them are child advocates. Doctors, social workers and others who work with and serve children are child advocates. Librarians and coaches are child advocates. Political leaders who put children first are child advocates. And all are joined by the millions of people, with or without children of their own, who spend time and talent fighting for just policies and practices that help children and families and all who are vulnerable and needy.

A Child Advocate’s Beatitudes

(Inspired by Clarence Jordan’s Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are the poor in spirit — who do not measure themselves by money or worldly power but who ask God for what they need and are not mired in pride — for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are those who mourn — who are concerned about the needs of children and the poor and others in need who cannot speak for themselves — for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek — who do not seek only their own good but their neighbors’ too — for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness — who do not work for the praise of others or earthly gain or fame and share gladly their talents, energy and money — for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful — who know they are sinners and are dependent on God’s and others’ forgiveness every minute of every day — for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart — who are not hypocrites but who struggle to live what they preach — for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers — who do not prepare for war while talking about peace, who do not kill others in order to stop killing, who do not love just those who love them but reach out to make their enemies friends — for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake — who do not run or waver in the face of criticism, threats, or death — for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who speak kindly and not meanly of others — who do not tear down others but build them up for the kingdom’s work and children’s well-being — for they shall receive their reward.

Blessed are the just — who do not adhere to the letter of the law and regulations for some but ignore them for others — for they will hear God’s well done.

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