Reverend Frederick Trost is a founding and active member of the Interfaith Peace Working Group in Madison, Wisconsin, a founding and active member of the Immigration Task Force with the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, and a board member and secretary of What If (Benevolent) Foundation, Berkeley, California (food and education programs in Haiti). He served for twenty years as the Conference Minister (President) of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ. Prior to that, he served as Senior Pastor of St Paulís United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois.
Reverend Trost received his B.D/M. Div. in Theology from Yale Divinity School. He received an A.B. in Philosophy and Ethics Activities and Societies from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also attended Heidelberg University, Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and Marquette University, majoring in Theology.
Reverend Trost has an Honorary Doctor of Theology degree from Protestant Theology Seminary in Wuppertal, Germany, and Honorary Doctor of Theology degrees from Lakeland University, Northland College and Elmhurst College.
Reverend Trost is a passionate advocate for peace and social justice. His vast experience with peacemaking, his well-rounded education, strong faith, and gift of communication provide visitors to this site with unique opportunities to learn from this incredible teacher.
These are holy days. There is a sense in which each day is holy; each day an opportunity to honor God and to embrace "all creatures that on earth do dwell," including the precious ones who hunger and thirst at the margins of life, the refugee, the widow, the war-scarred child, our abandoned neighbors; all who are beaten down by the violence of our time, yet each created in the divine image and for a divine purpose. These holy days testify to the fact that God is forever in search of humankind.
Many of us have come to love an old painting, "The Peaceable Kingdom", which was inspired by a text in the Hebrew scriptures, Isaiah 11:6. A day is coming when "the wolf and the lamb shall dwell together. . ., with a little child to tend them." Some believe that the artist Edward Hicks placed a shattered tree in the painting to express the eternal longing for hope, peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and renewal among all sorts and conditions of broken humanity. The church, the synagogue, the mosque, in their pristine forms, alongside all who seek to live humane lives, point to what is holy; forever offering substance to deeds that honor God.
The days that bring many of us to the joy of Christmas express this belief: in paintings of the nativity, the most unlikely persons are portrayed as kneeling in reverence alongside one another; poor shepherds still bearing the stench of their labor in the fields not far from the worldly magi, who with their dignity and riches are shown bent low as angels brighten the dark sky.
A gift we might share with one another during these holy days is what Abraham Joshua Heschel described as "moral madness." In a free society, he wrote, "some are guilty and all are responsible." We are called to life that takes the divine commandments seriously, a faith that confesses that the Lord is our Shepherd, a way of being present in this world with the courage needed to challenge idolatry, to oppose violence, to shatter callousness; to lives that involve risk; resisting the arms race, militarism as "whoredom, voluptuous and vicious," protesting the unholy alliance between politicians and the weapons-makers, the big money made by the few at the cost of the future of human life, taking our place alongside Moses and the Tablets of stone, present with Jesus in the spirit of the Beatitudes, standing up, confessing, announcing "joy to the world" by proclaiming in humble, determined, courageous deeds of resistance and love that our faith has substance, heart, and a backbone, refusing to deny what is holy by challenging in word and deed the clouds of threatening war and the fragility of a humanity that is presently "hanging from a cross of iron." This is not a divine request; it is a divine obligation.
Frederick Trost, Pastor (UCC - retired)
November 15, 2021