United Church of Christ offers service through worship, weekly campus meetings

by Molly MishlerStaff Writer

Looking for a church with a focus on openness, individuality and community service through worship? The Crossroads United Church of Christ meets every Sunday at 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Dirlam Lounge.

The worship service proceedes with a call to worship, readings from the Lectionary, a children’s sermon, special music, the sermon, a community prayer, announcements and the benediction. Dress is casual.

The mission of CUCC is to “seek to accompany one another on a spiritual journey, nurturing the relationship with Jesus Christ.” Their catch phrase is “the church you didn’t know you were looking for.” Issues focused on include acceptance of all people regardless of race, gender and sexual preference.

Members broke from Trinity United Presbyterian Church in 1993 to explore involvement with the UCC. They officially joined the denomination in 2000 to become CUCC.

The UCC denomination is made up of four predecessor denominations, the Congregational Church, Christian Church, Evangelical Church and Reformed Church.

In 1957 members from these churches got together and formed the UCC. Currently, Reverend Julia Rendon is Crossroad’s pastor.

Community service activities Crossroads participates in include providing a free dinner to people in the Indianola community, childcare for Operation Christmas, driving for Meals on Wheels, sponsoring refugee families, supporting the work of one Iowa and lesbian, and assisting gay, bisexual and transgender organizations to pass laws for marriage equality, marching in the Gay Pride parade in Des Moines, co-sponsoring a forum on immigration at Plymouth UCC on Nov. 17, serving bread pudding at Dickens of a Christmas and providing assistance to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Steve Rose, associate professor of education, has been attending CUCC for three years.

“I liked the church because it was about the common humanity,” Rose said. “It’s about serving other people and treating others with respect.”

Justin Nostrala, assistant professor of art, feels the church is a great way to develop the relationship with Christ.

“It’s a place where you can work on defining Christianity in a personal way,” Nostrala said. “This comes by way of missionary work. I also feel the church satisfies a need a lot of people have who are weary of Christianity. It’s a church that could be appealing to some people who are hesitant to join a church.”

Professor of Chemistry Ron Warnet feels Crossroads gives meaning in his life.

“I feel most purposeful and optimistic when working with people different from me in projects that bring us together,” Warnet said. “It’s when I feel most challenged. That’s when I have hope for our society and for our world.”

Warnet joined because he felt it helps him answer questions on his faith.

“I joined Crossroads because of the openness of people involved to working with the questions raised in living a life of faith,” Warnet said. “Working with questions rather than providing answers seemed to me to respect people’s individuality.”

All three professors feel that people should come and see what the church is all about.

“I think everyone should come and check us out,” Warnet said. “Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.”

Some famous people in the UCC or its predecessor denominations include:

?Lewis Tappan-one of the defenders of the Amistad slave ship rebels, who organized the first anti-slavery society

?Antoinette Brown-first woman since New Testament times ordained as a Christian minister

?Reinhold Niebuhr- the early 20th century theologian credited with writing the Serenity Prayer

?Paul Tillich- theologian who wrote “The Courage to Be”

?Bill Johnson-first openly gay minister ordained 1972

?Barack Obama-US Senator and member of Trinity UCC in Chicago

?Howard Dean-former Vermont governor