If you know anything about the United Church of Christ denomination, you know it was formed by a merger in 1957 of several “streams” of Protestant Christianity. I grew up learning there were four of them: The Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed.
The merger happened when several other denominational mergers were taking place, in the post-World War II period, when the world was focused on healing divisions and working together to rebuild a world torn apart by the war.
But did you know that there’s a FIFTH stream that’s always been part of the UCC’s history, but you may not have heard about it? I didn’t know about it until recently, with the publication of a wonderful little book edited by UCC racial justice pioneer Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk, called “The Afro-Christian Convention: the Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ.”
I’m excited to tell you that four of our churches are planning a Fifth Stream event for Thursday evening, March 7, at 6 p.m. Falcon Heights will join Macalester-Plymouth, Clark-Grace and St. Anthony Park United Churches of Christ at St. Anthony Park for a fellowship meal and a presentation and conversation about this vital part of the UCC’s heritage. Editor Yvonne Delk and Henry T. Simmons, a UCC pastor and a contributing writer to the book, will be joining us via Zoom from Norfolk, Virginia, and Jamestown, North Carolina.
Sign-ups will be posted soon so St. Anthony can plan for soup and bread enough for all. And please buy the book and read it. In its 150 pages, it opens up a whole new way of understanding our beloved United Church of Christ, and points the way toward a future filled with hope for its progressive, inclusive Christian witness!