UCC church barred from Angel Tree project

A United Church of Christ congregation in Texas has been told it cannot participate in an evangelical Christian program that assists children of prisoners because of the church's outspoken gay-friendly stance, according to the UCC web site.

The Rev. Dan De Leon, pastor of Friends Congregational UCC in College Station, Texas, said he learned this summer that his church was disqualified from Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program, which encourages churches to buy Christmas presents for the children of inmates.

Prison Fellowship officials said the church's stance on homosexuality, declared on its Web site, represented a disagreement about basic scriptural doctrine.

"For a church to qualify for Angel Tree, its beliefs must be consistent with our Statement of Faith, including being Trinitarian and accepting the unique authority of the Bible in all matters of faith and life," reads a July 24 letter the church received from Prison Fellowship.

Read it all here

Comments (2)

Oh, are the "Friends UCC" Church determined not to be "friends" of the "decider" and his buddies or simply second-class "friends" of Jesus Christ?

Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson is on record that gay marriage is the great moral challenge of this generation. They have sent (issue-based, constitutional) political mailings to his various ministries' supporters on the issue. His stated case is that if you let gays marry, eventually no one will, and society will collapse in a wave of crime and chaos. (Hence the relevance to prison ministry: Gay marriage = more single parents = more crime = more prisoners.)

I think it's a shame that churches who disagree on gay marriage can't collaborate on something like Angel Tree. Showing mercy to prisoners and their families is a bedrock Christian duty rooted in Jesus' words. But it's Colson's ministry, and he gets to make the rules.

Are there other ministries supporting families of prisoners that Friends UCC and like-minded congregations could support? Surely there must be.

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