Written by Emily Mullins
The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, will be the keynoter at the Open and Affirming Banquet on the opening day of the UCC’s General Synod 2013, June 28.
"Pastor Moss' open letter to African American clergy in May was a bold defense of marriage equality," said Andy Lang, executive director of the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns. "He speaks for a new generation of ministers for whom justice for LGBT citizens is indivisible from the struggle for justice for everyone."
The banquet is open to Synod delegates, as well as visitors and participants of the Coalition's 30th National Gathering, which takes place June 26-28 in Long Beach, Calif. The National Gathering's theme this year is "God's Vision: Do Justice!"
Keynoter at National Gathering will be the Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison, professor of Christian ethics at Bangor Theological Seminary. His work on human sexuality and marriage has deeply influenced the growing movement of LGBT-welcoming churches, not only in the UCC but across the denominational spectrum.
Also featured at National Gathering will be the Rev. Janice Steele, pastor of Imani UCC in Sacramento, Calif., and the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries and a member of the UCC's Collegium of Officers. They will preach at opening and closing worship.
"National Gathering is an experience that feeds the mind and heart," Lang said. "Inspiring worship and preaching, informative presentations and workshops, and time for fellowship and fun make this a highlight for the LGBT community in the UCC, for our allies and friends, and especially for members of Open and Affirming congregations."
The Coalition's first National Gathering was at the 1981 General Synod in Rochester, N.Y. At first a "sanctuary" for LGBT members who were not welcome in most UCC congregations, National Gathering over the years built up a confident LGBT community in the UCC and laid the foundations for a movement that advocated for inclusion and equal participation in the church. The experience still draws LGBT members and allies throughout the denomination, and workshops are designed especially to support ministry, mission and advocacy in open and affirming churches.
Visit the Coalition’s website for more information or to register for the National Gathering.