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Mon, Sep. 8th, 2008, 04:02 pm
mylifemyfaith: Finding a call when gay and out.

In my association, I have heard horror stories about LGBTQ folk getting through seminary and the in care process, and then never finding a call to a church, and thus staying in the limbo of "ordained pending call" forever. However, I also know or know of a few LGBTs that have been found calls in the UCC, even to large and historic churches like First Congregational Church in downtown Columbus.

I would like to ask the community:
a. Is there systematic discrimination against LGBTs in the call process in the UCC?


b. Do the people who complain about never finding a call because they're gay to everyone who will hear them usually have some other problem that's preventing them from finding a call?

I will note that to me it seems possible that a and be might well both be true. Gays and lesbians, like women in general, may wind up being shuffled to smaller, struggling churches because churches who can afford to pay a straight man with a family will hire one. This does not worry me very much since my call is to rural ministry! If a rural churches' motive for hiring me is that they can pay me less then they would pay a straight man with a family, then so be it. If I have to be a tentmaker, then God will provide.

OTOH, I have no intention of graduating seminary and never finding a call. Are there ways for me to be more desireable to churches despite being gay? Ways to be out but not too out?

Also, are queer pastors usually called to mostly-LGBT churches?

Edit: I especially want to know if LGBT pastors are welcome or likely to find a call in North Texas outside of the pastoral staff at Cathedral of Hope.

Tue, Sep. 9th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)

You might try contacting the UCC Coalition to see if they have some answers to some of your questions. Otherwise, I'd suggest talking with your conference/association ministers for their views.

I don't think queer pastors are mostly called to LGBT churches, but they probably ARE mostly called to ONA churches. However, I have also heard of queer pastors called to churches that are not ONA.

I suspect that the issue is more with getting a call, as opposed to ordination. I've heard of a couple of cases where an association refused to ordain an LGBT person, but generally I think once you receive a call, most associations will ordain you even if some churches aren't happy about it.

I hope that helps. (By the way, I am a trained ONA consultant. Not that that makes me an expert on the issue, but I am basically familiar with it.)

Tue, Sep. 9th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)

I have spoken to different people in my association, and have been told that it is not too uncommon for LGBT people to wait for years to find a call after graduating seminary. However, I have also seen LGBT people finding calls very rapidly, and in one case a gay man being called by a mostly-queer church precisely BECAUSE he was gay. Therefore my evidence is mixed. I was trying to get opinions from outside Ohio, especially. I'm in Ohio now, and I joined a UCC church in Ohio, but I'm originally from Irving, Texas, and I'm looking to move back into the Dallas area after I graduate from seminary.

Your suggestion to contact the coalition is a good one.

Tue, Sep. 9th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)

Incidentally, I know a African-American lesbian who pastors a very traditional, conservative, rural church in the German Reformed tradition.

Tue, Sep. 9th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)

I'm from Texas myself, and I'd like to point out that as a percentage of our churches, the South Central Conference has a higher percentage of ONA churches that is true nationally! (Nationally it's something like 11-12% of UCC churches are ONA, in Texas it's closer to 15%). Every year at least one more church in this conference becomes ONA. There are two that I know of currently in the process, and another that is thinking about it.

All of our associations have been willing to ordain openly gay people: the trickier part is finding a call. But as you noted, many of our rural churches are quite desperate to find a pastor.

I do recommend contacting Doug Anders, the conference minister. He is very supportive and can tell you a lot about the situation here in SCC.

Sat, Feb. 16th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC)

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