Christmas in July The tree goes up June 25! This year we will support two great causes-Perry Senior Citizen Services and/or Perry Township`s SHARE Program for school supplies.Grab a tag & return with unwrapped items before July 9!
  • Open and Affirming Exploratory Study Group News

    I am part of the Open and Affirming Exploratory Study Group, exploring and studying the possibility of expanding our church’s practice of “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” As most of us know, Friedens UCC was founded in 1911 by German-Americans. (My heritage is also German/European.) A stereotype of Germans is that they have difficulty in changing from the familiar ways of how things have always been done. I imagine that most of us presently believe that we are already welcoming to everyone who comes to worship here.

    But speaking from my own background, I’m not sure that Friedens is there yet. I grew up in a family where our father was rarely home, due to long hours at work. Therefore, our mother became the head of the house, making most of the family decisions. Our church affiliation went from Evangelical United Brethren to Evangelical and Reformed, which became the United Church of Christ, where we found our church home.

    I remember the diversity of people who came to our house. For instance, two special female friends were traveling evangelists. When Mom learned they were ministering nearby, she saw to it that we were there.  One woman, who was white, was a spirited preacher, and the other woman, who was Native American, was a soloist with a beautiful voice.

    Then there was the African American traveling choir that was hosted by our church. They needed housing for the night. Of course, Mom offered space, and I remember the evening meal with our guests and being loved on by these vivacious black women. It felt so good to be called “sister” by them.

    There are many more examples I could tell about my upbringing that made such an impact on me and my outlook on humanity. These experiences broadened my ideas about God and my belief that God loves everyone. Ask me and we can talk more about it.

    One reason I joined Friedens was because my brother and sister-in-law, John and Nadine Gantt, were already members. The other reason was the statement shared regularly: “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” I mistakenly thought that meant that Friedens was a covenanted Open and Affirming church, as encouraged by our denomination, the United Church of Christ. I was disappointed when I learned that Friedens had not made that decision and that maybe there is hesitation to make that decision any time soon.

    Please do not let the existence of the Open and Affirming Exploratory and Study Group cause you to think that any decision has been made. As I understand the process, a decision is a long way off and requires a lot of conversation and prayer, before a vote from the heart. No one’s voice will be ignored.

    So, let’s talk openly and respectfully, honoring each other’s thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. Let’s pray long and hard, listening for God’s guidance. At Friedens, everyone is a vital member of the Body of Christ. My desire, and the desire of the study group, is that all are included and no one is left out. Thank you for reading these words.