Report from Central Atlantic Conference

Where can you go to:

  • hear a poet read her own published poems
  • sing 3 spirituals simultaneously—with 250 people singing and sounding good
  • have a book fair with over 300 new or recent books
  • hear Indian singers and an African-American quartet and other great music
  • go to an ice cream social
  • have two large TV screens with proceedings televised
  • meet the captain of the Amistad
  • discuss important issues like the death penalty and Israeli-Palestine conflict
  • go to workshops with titles like Understanding Islam, Searching for a Minister, Hope from the Rubble, and Should Churches Offer Sexuality Education?

And all for a small fee paid for by your church? The Central Atlantic Conference annual meeting, that's where, in Newark, Delaware, June 14-16.

The keynote speaker on Friday evening was Rev. Jose Malayang, Executive Minister for local church ministries from the national United Church of Christ. He spoke of his experiences in four churches—two in the Philippines.

The keynote speaker on Saturday was Rev. Davida Crabtree from Connecticut. She spoke about the churches' response to September 11. She said it is a time for risk-taking and personal testimonies. Three points from her talk were: 1) Work for peace-overcome evil with good 2) Perception of the United States in many foreign countries is wealthy, pushy and greedy which breeds resentment 3) Civil liberties must be preserved—we are as free as the freedoms we assert.

I attended two workshops:

  1. History of Islam—the leader in a short period of time gave an outline of Doctrine of Islam, Five Pillars of Faith, Contrasts between Islam and Christianity Worship, and Doctrine of Duty. This was a most interesting workshop.
  2. Looking for a Minister—Search Process. Two Associate Conference Ministers spoke of their experiences and gave suggestions.

The business sessions passed a budget, elected officers and passed four resolutions:

  1. resolution on Conference-Wide Ministry to poor children of Haiti
  2. resolution on encouraging UCC members to become organ and tissue donors
  3. resolution on universal living wage
  4. resolution on Christian call for peace in the Middle East. There was much discussion and several amendments on this proposal, but it finally passed.

The fellowship, discussions and worship services were inspiring and stimulating. Avail yourself of the opportunity to attend next year.

Submitted by Janet Springer, Incarnation UCC's delegate to the Central Atlantic Conference.

Thank you, Janet