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Former UCC President Called to Repentance, Healing

by Staff
January 26, 2011
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MEDIA ADVISORY, ( -- The confessing movement in the United Church of Christ today called former UCC President and General Minister Rev. John Thomas to public repentance of his moral failure in order to allow the church to heal.

In August, Biblical Witness Fellowship revealed that Rev. Thomas had been having an adulterous affair for an unspecified number of years during his presidency with a woman who was his subordinate and frequent travelling partner on church business. This resulted in his public announcement that he was divorcing his wife to live in a "committed relationship" with his lover. Friday, the UCC, Western Reserve Association's Church and Ministry Committee, after a lengthy review, suspended Rev. Thomas ministerial standing pending completion of a "program of growth." Thomas responded with an angry statement virulently condemning the action of the church.

In response, Biblical Witness Fellowship Executive Director David Runnion-Bareford has issued a statement saying:

"This is a time for sorrow and not anger. Even as we hold John in our prayers, now is the time for an authentic repentance and clean confession from a broken and contrite heart. He has deeply hurt the church and healing will not begin without resolution. We are encouraged by the integrity and sensitivity of the church and ministry committee who, serving as volunteers, have engaged this difficult situation with courage."

Biblical Witness Fellowship is a confessing movement in the United Church of Christ formed in 1978 to encourage the churches and members of the denomination to bear witness faithfully to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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