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Marcus J. Borg, 1942-2015

Marcus J. Borg, biblical scholar, churchman

Marcus J. Borg, biblical scholar, churchman

Progressive Christian biblical scholar and churchman, Marcus Borg, died on Wednesday, January 21. He was 72.

Marcus Borg was a founding scholar of contemporary liberal and progressive Christian approaches to biblical studies. He was one of a handful of recent scholars to revive interest in the historical Jesus and was a leading member of the Jesus Seminar. He challenged Christians of every variety to appreciate the sacred mystery of our scriptures alongside what he called “the political vision of the Bible.”

Borg authored more than twenty-five books that have helped many rediscover new vitality and spiritual transformation in Christian faith. According to New Testament scholar Scot McNight (Northern Seminary), “Most of his published work was geared toward educated lay persons and clergy, books he hoped would get them to engage with serious ethical and theological matters, including the Bible, itself.” Some of Borg’s recent titles include:

    Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally (2001)

    The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith (2003)

    Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary (2006)

    The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem (2006)

    The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon (2009)

    Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith (2010)

    Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written (2013)

    Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most (2014)

The debt we owe to Marcus Borg — as progressive Christians and other people of faith — is beyond measure. We pray for peace and comfort for those he loved, and we praise God in celebration of a life that has brought such light to the world.

    “Religion’s purpose is to mediate the sacred and, by so doing, to inform, engender, and nourish a transforming relationship to ‘the More.'”

    Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity (2003)

Life Giving Water: Experiencing Annual Gathering

Fall Color Along Stream Bank


One of the great things about belonging to a denomination like the United Church of Christ is that you get a sense of being a part of something much larger than yourself, larger than your community. It’s an experience of belonging to the body of Christ and an awareness that we each — as individuals and as a church — have a role to play in manifesting the kingdom of God in our place and time.

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Historic UCC Lawsuit Supporting First Amendment Rights for Clergy Performing Same-sex Marriage

Today, Monday, April 28, 2014, the United Church of Christ again makes history as the first mainline denomination to legally challenge – on First Amendment grounds  – North Carolina marriage laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. In the video statement below, UCC General Minister and President, Geoffrey Black explains that the UCC lawsuit is about more than “restrictions placed on ministers” performing same-sex marriages (restrictions that carry criminal penalties), but that it is about “safeguarding Americans’ First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.”

The United Church of Christ has a long history of public engagement and has been influential in the evolution of religion and political history in the United States. In 1785, the Congregationalists (one of the four Christian traditions that formed the UCC in 1957) ordained the first African American to serve an all-white congregation. In 1853, the Christian Church (another founding tradition) ordained the first woman to serve as a pastor in a Christian congregation. And in 1972, we ordained the first openly gay minister in a mainline denomination. That tradition of boldness continues today with the lawsuit filed by the United Church of Christ in the U.S. District Court in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Click here for the UCC announcement about the lawsuit, and visit the UCC website to keep up with this and other UCC News and Events.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 27, 2014


This Sunday, April 27, 2014, is recognized around the world as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah in Hebrew. Shoah is Hebrew for ‘catastrophe’ or ‘utter destruction,’ and on this day – in Israel, a national memorial day – we honor and commemorate the lives of approximately six million Jews who died in World War II.

In the United States, Holocaust Remembrance Day begins a week of remembering. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,

The US Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims. This year’s Holocaust remembrance week is April 27-May 4, 2014. The Museum has designated Confronting the Holocaust: American Responses as the theme for the 2014 observance.

Visit the Musuem’s webiste for more information about this year’s Holocausts Remembrance Day, and click here for the Museum’s suggested reading list.

As we remember victims of the Holocaust in World War II, let us also think about victims of contemporary genocides and pray for the salvation of the world.

UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns Gathering in June




The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns invites you to attend a Coalition ONA Gathering in Oakland from Friday evening of June 4, 2014, and continuing through Sunday afternoon June 8, 2014. Spearheaded by Coalition Leadership Team members Yvette Flunder and Phil Porter, most of the event will take place at the new location of City of Refuge UCC (where Bishop Flunder is the founding pastor) near the Oakland Airport.

There will be a special pre-conference event taking place Friday during the day. (The topic will be announced later.) Coalition Executive Director Andy Lang will meet with area UCC LGBT leaders and friends on Thursday, June 5, at 7:00 pm at First Church Berkeley, where Phil Porter serves as Minister of Art and Communication. 

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