When we finally got around to introductions just before for lunch, and we had gone all the way around the room, this dignified man introduced himself as Roger Shinn
I'm sure my jaw dropped and I must have babbled something totally incoherent, as I was so stunned to finally meet, in person, Dr. Shinn
I have to admit that I did not even know he
was living in the Connecticut Conference
, let alone know that I would have the opportunity and honor of meeting him, for he
was indeed a legend in his
Roger Shinn, a longstanding minister in the UCC, was for many years the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
real claim to fame is that he
wrote our Statement of Faith.
This Statement of Faith that is at the core of who we understand ourselves to be as the United Church of Christ
was written by us.
It did not come from someplace far away or from on high, though I trust that it was inspired by God.
would tell you (and, rightly so) that he
did not write it himself; "No one on the Commission, working alone, would have produced anything resembling it.
The process of creating this witnessing statement was, according to Shinn and also one of my seminary professors (who actually taught me UCC polity), Louis Guenneman, who was also on the committee, a very thorough and complex and complete process of discernment.
draft was published and in usual UCC fashion, an extensive discussion followed: in local churches, in correspondence with eminent theologians (Both H. Richard Niebuhr and Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, and many others were members of the emerging United Church of Christ), pastors and lay people.
Thanks be to God for the gift of Roger Shinn
, for the gift of the countless ancestors and contemporary people of our lives and our churches that formed this magnificent Statement of Faith that we celebrate in the United Church of Christ
The Rev. Lark J. Hapke, Interim Senior Minister
First Congregational, United Church of Christ
Confessing Our Faith Roger L. Shinn Pilgrim Press
"Historical Reflections on the Statement of Faith", Presentation to the Historical Council, General Synod XXI, 1997 Roger L. Shinn