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Liberal United Church of Christ Celebrates 50th Anniversary Amid Drastic Decline

"Can the dry bones rise again?" --Mark Tooley, IRD Director of UMAction

Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy

WASHINGTON, June 22 /Christian Newswire/ -- The 1.2 million member United Church of Christ (UCC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary at a general synod gathering in Hartford, CT this weekend. Featured speakers will include church members such as Senator Barak Obama and actress Lynn Redgrave. Having lost 1 million members over the last 40 years, 40,000 last year alone, the UCC is one of the fastest declining -- and most liberal -- of America's church denominations. In 2005, the UCC became the first major denomination in the U.S. to endorse same-sex "marriage." Since then, over 200 congregations have decided to leave the church.

Mark Tooley, IRD Director of UMAction commented:

"The UCC embodies the dysfunction of declining, old-line Protestantism in America. Its elites, unaware or uninterested in the beliefs of average local church members, devote themselves to radical political causes instead of the traditional Gospel. The inevitable result has been a massive hemorrhage in membership, finances and overall cultural influence.

"Ecclesial descendants of America's earliest Puritan forbearers, the UCC and its predecessor bodies have been highly influential in America's religious and cultural life across 4 centuries. But since the 1960's, the UCC has been increasingly radicalized and politicized.

"With its Congregationalist emphasis, UCC local churches often ignore the denomination's national leadership.

"Can the dry bones rise again? This denomination has played a noble role for much of American history. Perhaps the Almighty will once again revive what UCC leaders have seemed determined to asphyxiate."