What People Are Saying …

beloved-community-scw…about the book, That We May All (Finally!) Be One

“When people ask me to define the United Church of Christ, I am overwhelmed. How can we capture this complex faithful community that honors difference and upholds unity? Gast insists that threads of difference are weaving new sustainable patterns that incorporate past, present, and future. She is not resistant to change. She has said for years that in the UCC those who were ‘them’ yesterday are ‘us’ today, and ‘we’ are forever changed. She has written a practical book, addressing patterns of structure and accountability and inviting members and critics to remain open to God’s future.”

This book is a tool and a story.  It is a tool to help people understand and internalize the distinctive ways in which the United Church of Christ defines itself and orders its life.  People who want to know more about the story of the United Church of Christ will not be disappointed.

—Barbara Brown Zikmund, UCC historian, seminary leader, and educator

“Gast addresses tensions that lie at the heart of every united or uniting church. Using a characteristic UCC style of language, Gast describes for us the ways we have expressed these tensions in our denominational polity and forms of ministry and have found ways forward toward the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for us: ‘That they may all be one.’”

—Randi Jones Walker, author of The Evolution of a UCC Style: Essays in the History, Ecclesiology, and Culture of the United Church of Christ

“I very much enjoyed reading this book, finding my own “truths” in it, and seeing how what I have been doing in the UCC for the past 20 years fits into the larger context of the UCC. I was captivated from beginning to end. Very well written, and does not sugarcoat or downplay the tensions and stresses to our unity. The topics for conversation invite dialogue, which is how we learn, explore, and define ourselves in the UCC. Should be required reading for clergy and laypersons in church leadership.”

—Roy Mosley, UCC layperson

“The book is helpful for many reasons, particularly its concise model of the how the UCC works. The book includes many quotes from UCC members as well as links to other opinions and documents. The author’s tone is a story telling style, allowing room for deeper reflection and questions. This style reflects the greater church ethos: interactive, inter-relational, and open.”

—Dakota Brown, UCC Member in Discernment

“Reading this book is a rich and rewarding experience. It is deeply, unapologetically intelligent, but very accessible, ample with real life examples. Every reader will find themselves spoken to, therefore will find a place inside, within the conversation. Mary Susan Gast provides a gentle nudge toward new horizons and sets a standard for openness of rigorous investigation. The book speaks directly and penetratingly into not only the ‘who we are’ but the ‘how we are who we are’ of UCC members and ministry. I am pushed to self-reflection and examination of my own religious life.”

—Jerry Bolick, Buddhist, Teacher and Poet

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