A View of Another Liberal Religious Tradition
On January 7, 2018, I had the honor to experience a Three Kings’ Day Service at Eden United Church in Hayward. As you may know, I have been trying to establish a relationship with our liberal religious faith neighbors with an eye towards combining youth programs. In the Fall of 2017, we held monthly youth group activities which culminated in a fieldtrip to Eden UCC for their annual Dia de Tres Reyes festivities.
The service was lovely and geared towards all ages. They held a “children’s service” which was similar to our “time for all ages” in which the children’s minister told the story of the three kings’ journey to Bethlehem to see the newborn king. The children paraded around the perimeter of the church following a star held by the reverend. They were given stars & coloring packets to keep them entertained through the remainder of the service.
Their service was performed both in English and in Spanish. As a multilinguist, I enjoyed hearing the Spanish alongside the English both spoken and written in the order of service. The speaker was a DACA recipient and member of their congregation who spoke eloquently and movingly on her mixed experiences trying to succeed in America. We are aligned politically.
What was new and different for me was experiencing the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Surprisingly, all were invited to come forward to receive a blessing regardless of membership in their congregation or that of any other church. I liked the inclusive atmosphere of the ceremony. According to their identity statement, ”they are a community of people who understand their sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’ name to be a representation of God’s feast for all people.”
In comparing their identity statement with our principles, it becomes clear that we are more alike than different. The main difference is that they “Proclaim Jesus Christ as their guide to the realm of God,” while we rely on our UU seven sources for spiritual guidance.
Still, they “Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for their gateway to God’s realm, and invite all sorts and conditions of people to join in our worship and in our common life as full partners.” Or, they respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
Other beliefs that connect UCC to Universal Unitarianism are the desire not to impose strict dogmatic beliefs on others and to work for justice and peace in the world. They think that:
- The way we treat one another is more important than the way we express our beliefs.
- There is more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions than in the answers.