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UCC's North Texas Association Grants Standing to 4,300-member Cathedral of Hope

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    UCC s North Texas Association grants standing to 4,300-member Cathedral of Hope Written by J. Bennett Guess United Church of Christ News Sunday, 29 October
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2006
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      UCC's North Texas Association grants standing to 4,300-member
      Cathedral of Hope
      Written by J. Bennett Guess
      United Church of Christ News
      Sunday, 29 October 2006

      Nearly a year to the day after members of Cathedral of Hope in Dallas
      voted to request affiliation with the UCC, the denomination's North
      Texas Association of the South Central Conference voted to grant
      congregational standing at its fall meeting on Oct. 28. The
      affirmative vote was by an "overwhelming majority," one observer
      described it.

      With 4,300 members, Cathedral of Hope becomes the UCC's fourth largest
      congregation. The good news of the Association's vote was shared with
      Cathedral of Hope members on Oct. 29 during the congregation's annual
      meeting.

      "This is an historic day in the life of the Cathedral of Hope," said
      the Rev. Jo Hudson, senior pastor and rector. "We are blessed to be a
      full partner in ministry with the North Texas Association and the
      United Church of Christ. We celebrate that our values of compassion,
      inclusion, tolerance and hope in service to the world by following
      Jesus are consistent with those of the United Church of Christ. We are
      proud to be a part of such a diverse body of churches and people."

      The Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC general minister and president, said he
      welcomed the decision of the North Texas Association.

      "We will be enriched by the vitality of Cathedral of Hope's ministry
      even as we hope that incorporation into our 50 year history will be a
      gift to them," Thomas said.

      In accordance with the denomination's grassroots governance style,
      issues related to congregational standing and ministerial authority
      are dealt with at the Association level, meaning that Associations act
      on behalf of the UCC nationally when it makes decisions, such as
      receiving churches or ordaining ministers. Decisions by Associations
      cannot be overruled by the denomination's Conference or National settings.

      The Cathedral of Hope touts itself as "the world's largest liberal
      Christian church with a primary outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and
      transgender people." Its local and national ministries, outreach
      programs, pastoral counseling, and web-based and TV media touch
      thousands each day.

      The Cathedral of Hope began exploring UCC affiliation many years ago
      when, in 1997, a congregational vote authorized consideration of the
      move. Over the years, various lay leaders gathered information on the
      UCC and completed preliminary evaluations.

      In 2003, consideration of the UCC was again discussed by the
      congregation when the church voted to disaffiliate from the Universal
      Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. In January 2005, the
      church's board of directors instructed its affiliation and expansion
      committee to resume exploration of affiliation in earnest. A
      congregational vote to request UCC affiliation was overwhelmingly
      approved on Oct. 30, 2005.

      Earlier this year, Cathedral of Hope's leadership voted to participate
      in the UCC's Stillspeaking Initiative and church leaders received
      training related to the denomination-wide media and hospitality campaign.

      In joining the UCC, Cathedral of Hope becomes another in a series of
      sizeable southern churches to join the UCC in recent years. Four years
      ago, the 5,500-member Victory Church in Stone Mountain, Ga., became
      the UCC's second largest church when it was received into the UCC's
      Southeast Conference.

      On Sept. 30, the Missouri/Mid-South Conference received the 300-member
      Holy Trinity Church in Memphis. And, earlier this year, the 300-member
      Garden of Grace Church in Columbia, S.C., the 250-member Holy Trinity
      Church in Nashville, Tenn., and a new African-American church start,
      Unity Worship Center, in Montgomery, Ala., also became part of the
      Southeast Conference.
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