A Call for Marriage Equality

Currently I serve as Transitional Minister at Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ.  In March of 2013 our congregation became the denomination's 1090th Open and Affirming congregation.  Earlier this year we rejoiced when marriage equality arrived in Florida.  We are hopeful that it will soon become a national reality. The following is an excerpt from the portion of yesterday's worship service focused on marriage equality in support of the Religious Institute's National Weekend of Read More …

Welcoming Transgender People

Almost every local congregation thinks of their community of faith as friendly and welcoming.  Open and affirming congregations tend to view their houses of worship as offering an extravagant welcome to all people.  In reality, however, both groups often fall short of these ideals. For congregations that strive to welcome all people, Shannon Kearns' recent article is filled with practical insight related to welcoming transgender people.  Shannon shares seven questions that will help open and Read More …

An Amazing Welcome

Quinn Caldwell is the pastor of Plymouth Congregation Church (Syracuse, NY) and a member of the United Church of Christ Stillspeaking Writers’ Group.  A few years ago when he was serving at Old South Church (Boston, MA),  he wrote about the welcome that church provides to all: In the name of Jesus Christ, and through his spirit, we bid you welcome to Old South Church in Boston, an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. You are welcome here if you are married, or if Read More …

1,000 Open and Affirming Congregations

The United Church of Christ is known for being first: 1785 - first ordained African American pastor 1853 - first woman pastor 1972 - ordination of first openly gay minister Today, the denomination celebrates another first as it welcomes its 1,000th Open and Affirming congregation.  Open and affirming congregations have publicly and specifically declared that those of all “sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions” (or “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” Read More …

Full LGBT Equality in the Church

Believe Out Loud is a project of Intersections International that is committed to being a" trans-denominational movement that promotes LGBT-inclusion in the Christian church."  Recently they launched a campaign to get one million Christians to sign on in support of "full LGBT equality in the church."  Sojourners, led by Jim Wallis, rejected their new 83 second ad  (watch below) depicting lesbian moms and their son entering a new church and receiving a welcome from the minister.  Over the last Read More …

A Troubling Approach to Homosexuality

John McWilliams is an ordained Presbyterian (PCUSA) pastor who currently serves as a Campus Crusade for Christ missionary.  Before becoming a full-time missionary in 1998, he served as a local church pastor for twenty-one years.  In response to the denomination's current consideration of a constitutional change that would lift its ban on the ordination of homosexuals, he recently wrote “Homosexuality: Blessing or Sin? – The Part of the Discussion We Never Really Seem to Discuss.” Christians Read More …