September 17 – Crop Walk, UCC Statement of Faith, and Wandering (Exodus 16, Numbers 13-14, Deuteronomy 29-31

Next Session

Monday, October 5, 7:00pm – 8:15pm, via Zoom. An invitation will be emailed to you.

The CROP Walk

CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk events held in cities and towns across the United States raising funds to support the global mission of Church World Service, a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster. Twenty five percent of the funds raised are returned to the host community to support local hunger fighting efforts.

I hope all of you will participate in the Bethlehem Area CROP Walk on October 11, 2020. After the outdoor worship service on October 11 I am encouraging you all to go for a walk with your family and/or mentor either from the church, or in your own neighborhood. To encourage social distancing we will not be walking together as a group. I have included a donor tracker form and links to the registration and team page. The church will be collecting for CROP for the whole month of October. All monies should be turned into the church office by Monday, November 2.

 

Creeds and the UCC Statement of Faith

Questions you should be able to answer by the end of this lesson:

  1. What is a creed?
  2. Why are creeds of statements of faith important?
  3. Can you name an example of a creed?
  4. In what branch of the United Church of Christ did First UCC begin.

Part of the service of confirmation is reciting a statement of faith, or creed. You will be saying the UCC Statement of Faith during your confirmation by memory. It is also what your Confirmation instruction will be based on. All of the lessons in the second year have the Statement of Faith at their foundation. Today, creeds, and especially the UCC Statement of Faith is being introduced to you.

A creed is a written statement that says what the most important beliefs are for a group. The name “creed” comes from the word “credo,” which means “I believe” in Latin. They are often written as part of trying to resolve a disagreement. Sometimes, as was the case for the United Church of Christ, they are written to bring a group together.

Creeds have always been a big part of Christian history. We won’t talk about all of them, this is just the barest highlights.

First Corinthians 15:3-7 is the first example we have of a Christian creed. It was probably written within five years of Jesus’ crucifixion.

3 I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 

The Nicene Creed was written at a church council in Turkey beginning in 325, although it took a long time to reach its current form. It was written because there were many problems and arguments because people disagreed about major parts of what being a Christian meant. It was meant to define what “right belief” was.

The Apostles’ Creed first appeared around 390 CE, and is one of the most widely accepted creeds among Christians throughout the world. How it came to be is not precisely known, although there are many strong opinions about it. 

In 1959, the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith was written as one of the first steps in creating the United Church of Christ. It was a way of defining who we are as a church together. We were united as a denomination by joining together 4 distinct groups. The Congregational Church, the Christian Church, the German Evangelical Church and the German Reformed Church were the original denominations. Most UCC churches in Pennsylvania, including First Church are from the German Reformed tradition. xIt has been edited, translated and changed over the years. The original version is still used in many churches, but has fallen into disuse because it uses Father language and male pronouns exclusively for God. The following version is what we will use for your confirmation service:

United Church of Christ Statement of Faith in the form of a doxology

We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:

You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image, and set before each one the ways of life and death.

You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.

You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.

Amen.

Wandering, Exodus 16, Numbers 13-14, Deuteronomy 29-31

Read the passages in your Bible, and do two of the explore more activities found on pp 54-55 in your Sketch Journal.

Watch the recap video