Letter Box


’In diversity
there is strength’

Editor of the Reformer:

The Congregation of Centre Congregational Church United Church of Christ joyfully announces that it declared itself to be an Open and Affirming congregation at a special meeting on Nov. 24, 2013 by a unanimous voice vote without dissent as described in the following resolution:

We Are One.

"Although we are many members, we believe we are one body in Christ. We are called to love all our neighbors, and we invite and welcome all persons to share fully in our covenantal community of Centre Congregational Church as equal partners who have full access to every opportunity to serve its mission.

"As Joseph’s coat came in many colors, people come to Jesus in many ways. All are beautiful in the eyes of God, and with Jesus as our guide, we respect and embrace every person so that we may all grow toward a unity of faith and purpose and with a Christian love that transcends all our differences. We believe that in diversity there is strength.

"To that end, Centre Church declares itself to be an Open and Affirming congregation. We invite and welcome all persons of every race, age, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, economic and social status, marital status, mental and physical ability and all other differences within our humanity, to grow together in faith and love.

"Humbly and with God’s grace, we invite and welcome all of God’s children to join us in living out our faith here in Centre Church, in our homes, our community, and the greater world."

On behalf of the Church Council and the ONA Task Force, I want to thank Reverend Carra McFadden and the many lay leaders who provided spiritual guidance and support throughout the process as we thought and prayed about what our faith and the Holy Spirit asks us to do.

The congregation was blessed to hear from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons who shared their moving personal stories and feelings about the importance of our being an Opening and Affirming congregation. Their testimony deepened our understanding about the obstacles and discrimination they face, which are part of the culture in which we all live. We are one.

Don Webster,

for the Centre Church Council

and its Open and Affirming Task Force, Brattleboro, Nov. 26

Reformer lauded for recent editorial

Editor of the Reformer:

As advocates of the Women’s Freedom Center, we’d like to commend you for the smart, sensitive editorial you just ran on recent news out of Steubenville (Nov. 27). "Defeating the culture of rape" was well titled, as it’s a crisis still deeply rooted in culture, and the often silent conspiracy of privilege that is patriarchy.

As you point out, and facts from Steubenville illustrate, rape is a chosen, and often ignored or condoned behavior. While myths continue to blame victims, the reality is, no one can ‘make’ someone else rape, and there’s no ‘right’ to rape either, whenever conditions make it suddenly easier. This self-serving spin is just power protecting itself, as it tends to do when left unchallenged. And the Ohio case highlights the teaching of this strategy from one generation to the next. Whatever the arena, the theme remains: of a privileged male hierarchy of coaches, officers, priests, etc., committing or covering up this crime. So it’s crucial for all of us to discuss their role and debunk their role model status, once and for all. It’s good that you didn’t rarify Steubenville either, but used it to shed some light, because every town including our own shares similar wounds.

We’d like to offer one slight correction to your piece: while we do employ volunteers in a range of activities, our 24 hour hotline is handled strictly by full-time, paid advocates, as is any direct service work with victims. Our crisis line once more is 802-254-6954.

Thank you again for an excellent article.

Women’s Freedom Center,

Brattleboro, Nov. 27


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