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A 'Sacred Conversation About Race' will be the theme of the Sunday service on May 18 at Lake Oswego United Church of Christ. The members and friends of LOUCC invite all our neighbors to attend the 10:30 a.m. service on this special occasion.

Across the country hundreds of other UCC congregations will also respond to a call to make this Sunday's service a forum to further consider issues of racial, cultural and ethnic concerns in our wider communities. The call has been issued by the national collegium of the leaders of the United Church of Christ. Our conversation will be non-political and non-partisan.

John Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ (a denomination formed in 1957 by a merger of Congregational, Evangelical, Reformed and Christian faith traditions) indicated that this is an opportunity for UCC members to converse on the common theme of race. Thomas also said 'it's impossible for a sacred conversation on race to be a single-day event.' Instead, pastors and lay leaders are encouraged to begin thinking how the coming months can be used to appropriately plan and organize for a long-term sacred conversation on race, perhaps through the summer and fall.

The UCC is holding this national dialogue in order to foster a spirit of healing and unity in our churches and communities. While much has been said during the past few weeks about the Rev. Jeremiah A Wright Jr., this dialogue among our members is intended to be a larger conversation, one not focused directly or exclusively on the recent controversy, but one certainly influenced by it.

In the call to this event we are reminded that, 'Sacred conversations are never easy, especially when honest talk confronts our nation's painful past and speaks directly to the injustices of the present day. Yet sacred conversations can, and often do, honor the value of diverse life experiences, requiring an openness to hear each other's viewpoints. Growth often happens when honest conversations are communicated in a respectful environment.'

LOUCC is most pleased that Lake Oswego residents Willie and Bruce Poinsette, have agreed to join us in this time of conversation and sharing. Our conversation will include questions, suggestions and observations about how understandings and misunderstandings of race inform, limit, and expand our community life in both the national context and in our local Lake Oswego setting.

This conversation will take place as part of the regular 10:30 a.m. Sunday worship service, on May 18, at LOUCC. The congregation meets at 1111 Country Club Road at Knaus Road. Mary Cox is the moderator of LOUCC, which is an open and affirming congregation and a member congregation of the Center for Progressive Christianity as well as the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ.

LOUCC invites those interested in this 'Sacred Conversation About Race' to come join with us as this special day might help to make our shared commitments to justice, equality and peace move forward.

This invitation is submitted by Rev. Jeff Barton, pastor, Lake Oswego United Church of Christ. More information about the congregation, which this month celebrates its 120th anniversary in this community, is available at .

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