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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.

Wed, Aug. 15th, 2007, 05:19 pm
changinglight: The UCC is Calling for An End to the Iraq War

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is calling for an end to the Iraq War.  If you have not already read and signed the petition to call for an end to war and violence, please do!  We're hoping to collect 10,000 signatures by October 7th. 
If you'd like a copy of this banner, you can find the link at http://ga3.org/ucc/100kactionkit.

Thu, May. 10th, 2007, 04:26 pm
changinglight: (no subject)

I'm working with a team from the Mass Conference of the United Church of Christ on a survey/workshop effort to learn about "young adults" and their experiences with church/religion/spirituality.  We're trying to gather survey results from as many people as possible in the age range of 18-40.  Denominational background and geographic location are not important.  If you can, please fill out and disseminate this survey as widely as possible.  The results of the survey will be used to create a workshop by young adults to present to congregational leaders in the Mass Conference at our annual meeting in September.  All of the information in the survey will be kept anonymous, and results of the survey will be available by emailing lofrumentok@macucc.org. 

 The survey can be found here:



This request is cross-posted. 


Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006, 08:29 am
changinglight: support in a period of discernment

My partner is in a period of discernment around her call to ministry, and I'm wondering how best to be supportive?  Any information that y'all could give me about the discernment process would be helpful, as well as how support worked in your particular call.  I know that the obvious thing is to have a conversation with her about it, but I'd also like to know what your experiences are. 


Mon, Apr. 24th, 2006, 04:52 pm
changinglight: (no subject)

I was wondering if people would be willing to share their stories of ONA processes?

Wed, Dec. 28th, 2005, 09:41 am
cair_anam: (no subject)

Hey all!

Just found you because you are one of the few communities that include process theology on your interest lists.

I'm actually a Presbyterian, not UCC, but I hope you don't hold that against me! My politics have always drifted more towards UCC in any case.

Nice to join you!

Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005, 01:03 pm
merrywandering: (no subject)

Using George Lakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant" as a guide, my church has been in a study to articulate our values from a progressive Christian perspective. Following is what we have come up with. We're still searching for language in some places, language that will resonate with the Bible but won't be too "churchy."

I would really appreciate any thoughts, comments, reactions that you all might have. How do some of these phrases hit you? Of course, this reflects my church and may or may not reflect your beliefs, but are they certain topics missing, like salvation, or the environment, or whatever?

Core Values of Spirit of Peace Church, United Church of Christ

A principle is a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or chain of reasoning. (Note: according to the dictionary, principles and values seem to be pretty much the same thing. It might be better for us to call these values, since that's the kind of language that gets used in American culture. What do you think?)

Progressive Christian Principles:

+ Open toward the future; always in process; reformed and reforming; “yet more light and truth”
+ loyalty to Jesus; lordship of Christ
+ the household of God; community
+ Creation is continuous.
+ servant leadership; renunciation of privilege; self-emptying/giving, kenosis
+ God reveals the divine self in the incarnation.
+ The realm of God is among us.
+ You are the light of the world.
+ We are the body of Christ.
+ Primacy of love and compassion
+ God’s mission of forgiveness and reconciliation is now our mission.

Some of these obviously repeat. We had a hard time avoiding churchy language here. We want central concepts like the kingdom of God and the lordship of Christ, but without using those phrases. For "kingdom of God" we've talked about "household of God" (Greek: oikos) or "neighborhood of God," which we really like but sounds a lot like Mr. Rogers. Any thoughts or ideas?

A virtue is a quality considered morally good or desirable. These proceed from our principles/values.

Progressive Christian Virtues:

+ mindfulness
+ confronting abuse
+ mutually supportive, protective, nurturing; interdependence
+ fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)
+ active mission/service in the world
+ a sense of ministry in daily life
+ a spirit of peace
+ obedience to God’s will; Jesus as prime example
+ love one another, share each other’s burdens and joys
+ continually transforming, renewing, growing, progressive
+ humility
+ accepting and sharing forgiveness
+ joy

Ten-word Philosophy: This is an exercise from Lakoff's book, a succinct way of stating your core objectives. He gives the following as examples of political ten-word philosophies:

Strong Defense
Free Markets
Lower Taxes
Smaller Government
Family Values

Stronger America
Broad Prosperity
Better Future
Effective Government
Mutual Responsibility

At my church we came up with:

Extravagant Welcome
Abundant Life
Eternal Love
Evangelical Courage/Courageous Witness
Transforming Community

One thing I've noticed is that the polical philosophies are more toward what they want, whereas the church philosophy is more in terms of what we are. I suspect that may be inevitable. Politics is more about an agenda that you want accomplished, whereas church is kind of more about a state of being. There are actions implied, but it doesn't seem to me that the core of what it means to be church is to have an agenda.

But then again, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Any input is greatly appreciated. Feel free to circulate this widely if you wish.

Thu, Jan. 6th, 2005, 08:56 pm
sparklz17: information about seminaries

hello everyone, not much action goes on here. maybe i can help strike up some conversation?

I am currently a junior at Defiance College majoring in religious studies. i plan on going to seminary after this. i live in maine so i'd like to stay in the new england area for seminary. my mom graduated last year from Andover Newton thats right outside of boston. she's really encouraging me to go there, but im also looking into bangor, lancaster and united theological of the twin cities. if you have any advice for me i'd love to hear it. im interested in what others have to say about seminary.
thanks for your input!

Mon, Aug. 9th, 2004, 05:51 pm
merrywandering: Coming Out as a spiritual journey

I've been working on a series of articles on "coming out" as a spiritual journey, and I have been trying to think of a Bible character who could serve as a metaphor or archetype. I finally settled on Paul, and would love to know what you all think.

I picked Paul because he started out as a Jew hating Christians, then he became a Christian and spent the rest of his life preaching good news of forgiveness and reconciliation to both Jews and Christians. While passages within his letters can be read as anti-semitic, I think Paul was actually trying to extend the blessings of the Jews on to Gentiles.

If we read Judaism as a metaphor for heterosexuality and Gentiles as a metaphor for homosexuality, then I think we have a powerful image. Jews/straights think they are the only ones blessed, and Gentiles/gays are sinners. Some Jews/straights think Gentiles/gays could only be blessed if they converted to being Jews/straights. But Paul says no, both may be blessed in their own way, by each being faithful to God. Gentiles/gays don't have to convert, because God accepts them as they are. So Jews/straights should be themselves, and Gentiles/gays should likewise be themselves.

What do you think? Does that make sense? Or can you think of a better metaphor in the Bible?

Fri, Jul. 16th, 2004, 04:30 pm
merrywandering: (no subject)

Let's see. There still aren't many members here yet, so let me post a topic!

It seems like liberal Christians in particular are very fond of using the name "Yahweh." Certainly it was the rage when I was in seminary, and I find very many books that use it. (I read one book recently that refused to; I think it was Bruggeman.)

I don't understand why people insist on using the Name. It is supposed to be sacred. The Bible forbids people from using it, and the Name is translated LORD God in every translation. Many Jews don't even use the word "God." They say "G-d."

So why would liberal Christians be so big on saying Yahweh? Especially since Yahweh is no more accurate than the medieval Jehovah. YHWH would be more accurate, but I still don't see the benefit of using it. We know that names are a way of having power over something, so the modern fad of using the Name looks to me like an attempt to gain power over God.

The Harry Potter books give an excellent illustration of this. Everyone calls the bad guy "He Who Must Not Be Named." But only certain of the good guys: Dumbledore, Lupin, Harry himself, insist on using Voldemort's real name because they believe they shouldn't ascribe so much fear and power to him. In essence, the wizarding community has made a false idol out of Voldemort, and for Dumbledore et al, it becomes an important act of "unmasking the power" for them to use Voldemort's name.

Going back to Christianity, then -- what is behind the insistence in using "Yahweh"? It seems to me the height of arrogance, maybe even idolatry -- idolizing our own power by insisting on using the Name. Who do we think we are to use God's name? God isn't a false idol. God is real, therefore we should show respect by not using the Name.

(You see how I have such an incredibly conservative streak in me?) I'm interested to know what others think. Do any of you choose to use the Name, and if so, why? I've never seen anyone give a theological defense for using the Name. If anything, that disturbs me even more. I mean, if you're going to use the Name, then I think you should have a reason for doing so. Otherwise, you really are taking the Lord's name in vain.

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