Christian Unity is not a tangerine, but...

My life changes a bit as the legislative season in Frankfort approaches. Winter is when face to face conversations in Frankfort happen with greater frequency and urgency. Coming up soon -- two meetings with legislators to explain why so many churches want them to reduce the interest rates payday lending can charge in Kentucky.

As part of the Good Giving campaign going on right now, I thought you might like to donate the cost of one or two such trips to Frankfort. I've calculated it as $75 per visit, for gas and for my time. 

Or maybe you'd like to help us have an intern this year -- $3,000 in donations. Last year our intern helped us approach campus ministries. 

Or perhaps donate a scholarship of $180 for someone to attend next year's assembly on religious diversity and interfaith relations.

It's hard to segment the work of Christian Unity like a tangerine, and put a price tag on each piece! But I wanted to illustrate just a few of the ways each and every donation helps. Just click here!

Thank you for your generosity. Last week we already passed the level of giving of 2013 -- so please help us go even further! 

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The Council sends out about 40 emails a year to those who sign up. The emails range from legislative issue alerts during the Frankfort sessions to public service announcements of special interest to churches.

These items are easy to re-post to your own networks if you find that they could be useful to others you know.

The legislative alerts are set up so that you can contact your own elected officials "with the greatest of ease" while on the "flying trapeze" of your very full life.

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Map of poverty released

There is much in the news these days about disparities. Even among Kentucky's congressional districts there are some important differences in the presence of poverty. This link to an interactive map was recommended to us by Kentucky Youth Advocates.

Organizational Design of the Council approved

As the result of an 18-month visioning process, the annual assembly of the Council voted on October 28th 2011 to approve many recommendations to enhance the vitality of the Council's life and work.

One of the measures was to create some new entities and a new flow of communication. These are captured artistically in the linked organizational chart

Richard Weis Installed as LTS Dean

Lexington Theological Seminary installed its 17th Dean on Sunday, January 22nd. Dr. Richard Weis, a Presbyterian, assumed this leadership role in a worship setting. The Rev. Mike Ward, Kentucky Council of Churches board president, brought greetings on behalf of the 12 Christian traditions of the Council and affiliates. A video of the ceremony is posted on the LTS web site. Rev. Ward's remarks begin at minute number five. 

Bishop's Ecumenical Award announced

The Rev. Sarah Ewing Ernst, Pastoral Assistant at the Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, received the 2011 Bishop's Ecumenical Award during the recent United Methodist Kentucky Annual Conference held in Covington, KY.

This Louisville leader writes that "Receiving the Bishop's Ecumenism Award was a high point of the Kentucky Annual Conference for me this year.  It has been both a joy and a privilege for members of Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church to be involved in ministry with our Tri-Covenant partners The Cathedral of the Assumption (Roman Catholic) and Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) over the past seven years.  In receiving the award I felt I was truly "the face of Fourth Avenue." Through the years our churches have partnered in Epiphany and Lenten services, Easter Vigils, and celebrations of the Blessing of Animals.  Pulpit exchanges have been an awesome experience for both pastors and congregations.  We have joined together in "repair affairs", yard sales for the community ministry, Vacation Bible Schools, and learned to appreciate each others' doctrinal and social justice perspectives through ... dialogues. For Fourth Avenue, our ministry together has been ecumenism at its heart as we've gotten to know, appreciate and love each other - and be church together as God's people in Christ Jesus!"          

The Kentucky Council of Churches celebrates this testimonial and lifts up the example of giving ecumenical awards as a way to call even more believers into this work.

Become – or appoint – an ecumenical encourager and liaison

In scripture, the role of Barnabbas was crucial – he made sure Paul and Peter met each other and learned to work together. Please be “a Barnabbas” for relations among Christian traditions today. Or make sure your congregation cultivates a person for that role! Here are some good ways such a person can proceed:

  • Help your faith community give an award from time to time for members who are engaged in ecumenical ministries or activism. Or sponsor an essay contest as a way to give an award to younger people!
  • Find a way to mark the yearly Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Council can always help with this, but it is also possible to order the annual materials through http://www.geii.org/wpcu_index.htm
  • Keep concerns of the world church before the congregation/parish during spoken prayers of intercession is a good activity
  • Explain Christian unity to the children, and help adult classes find ways to engage with other traditions.

Connect with other traditions through the KCC:

  • Subscribe to the alert system of the KCC, respond to those alerts, and call them to the attention of the parish/congregation in appropriate ways. One registers for alerts at this link.
  • Attend our annual assembly in October (call 859-269-7715 for registration details) and then report back in your church about something especially meaningful or pertinent from the assembly.
  • Inform the Council about how to promote ecumenical spirit and action in your context.
  • Plan a time annually to highlight the work of the Council.