Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
Sexuality and Our Faith is the faith based Our Whole Lives curriculum resources developed for each age group. These companion resources are designed to be integrated into each corresponding workshop of the Our Whole Lives Curriculum when used in United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association or other faith based settings.
Sexuality and Our Faith will put the exploration of identity, relationships, and sexuality in the context of worship and our relationship with God and scripture. The goals are to connect faith with identity, relationships, and sexuality issues in ways that lead to informed and reasoned decisions and to empower persons to act responsibly as they seek to unite body and spirit, spirituality and sexuality alienation and wholeness.
As Christians, we profess that we are created in the image of God. In this image, we make a lifelong journey toward deeper faith, faithfulness, and wholeness. As a church, we seek continually to integrate God's ongoing revelation with new knowledge and understandings of our lives and times. In our religious education, we seek to equip the faithful for this journey in all its possibilities.
As people in the United Church of Christ (UCC), we affirm that sexuality and a spirituality are intricately connected and that both are gifts from God. The actions of our General Synods, conferences, associations, congregations, and councils support this.
The following principles from the UCC's Created in God's Image: A Human Sexuality Program for Ministry and Mission, supplement the Our Whole Lives assumptions, goals, and principles, expressing what many in the United Church of Christ believe about faith, spirituality, sexuality, and justice.
Principles Guiding the United Church of Christ Commitment to Sexuality Education
1. Sexuality is a God-given gift.
2. The purposes of sexuality are to enhance human wholeness and fulfillment, to express love, commitment, delight, and pleasure, to bring new life into the world, and to give glory to God.
3. When making decisions about sexuality, the primary guide is God's call to love and justice as revealed in both Testaments.
4. From a biblical perspective, sexuality is intended to express mutuality, love, and justice. In judging whether behavior is ethical or unethical, the norms of mutuality, love, and justice are the central criteria.
5. From a biblical perspective, sexuality is distorted by unethical behaviors, attitudes, and systems that foster violence, exploitation, infidelity, assertion of power, and the treatment of persons as objects.
6. In developing a just sexual morality, we need to avoid double standards.
7. A responsible and mature sexual ethic respects the moral agency of every person. When faced with ethical decisions, each of us needs to be accorded the freedom and responsibility to choose.
8. The church, at all levels, ought to be a context for discussion about human sexuality.
9. The church ought to encourage and support advocacy with those who are sexually oppressed or the victims of sexual violence and abuse. The church can and must have a role in defining and implementing public policy.
- Updated guidelines on how National, International and Regional partners can support Ugandan LGBTI Persons and their allies from the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL), a coalition in Uganda.
General Synod Resolution
In July of 2011, the 28th General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted a resolution, "Supporting International Human Rights Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity". The purpose of the resolution is to raise awareness of international instances of systematic discrimination, violence and abuse targeting persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI), and of contexts where such abuse is not prohibited by law but rather legally, politically, socially, and even religiously sanctioned.
The resolution advocates for the Yogyakarta Principles and thus, commits the United Church of Christ to advocate for the fair and equal application of universal human rights principles and laws toward the protection of all persons from sexual or gender status-based abuse, discrimination or criminal prosecution.
In 2006, in response to well-documented patterns of abuse, a group of international human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the Yogyakarta Principles: a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free andequal in dignity and rights can fulfill that precious birthright.
A Prayer for Holistic Healing
for People Living with HIV/AIDS
God of mercy and justice: Heal us from the ravages of HIV and AIDS that deplete immunity and make your children vulnerable to opportunistic infections.
Heal us Lord. Have mercy on us.
Heal broken hearts and relieve the grief that pains spirits and minds and leaves many to wonder about the meaning of life.
Heal us Lord. Have mercy on us.
Heal the psychological pain of HIV and AIDS, and the fear and hopelessness that can engulf and lead some to die before the virus kills.
Heal us Lord. Have mercy on us.
Heal the social stigma and discrimination that results in uncompassionate acts of isolation, and failure to provide quality care and prevention.
Heal us Lord. Have mercy on us.
Heal unhealthy relations that expose partners and spouses to HIV and AIDS infection, and renders some powerless to protect themselves.
Heal us Lord. Have mercy on us.
Heal the poverty that exposes millions to HIV and AIDS. Heal the exploitative social structures that condemn many to poverty and expose them to infection.
Heal us Lord. Have mercy on us.
Heal the violence that spreads HIV and AIDS. Heal the ethnic and civil wars. Heal domestic violence and the rape of women and children.
Heal us Lord. Make us and your church the instruments of your healing. Amen.
Adapted from a prayer for people living with HIV/AIDS published by Church World Service. Adaptation by the Reverend James Moos, Executive Minister of UCC Wider Church Ministries and Co-Executive of Global Ministries, a partnership of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Adapted from the Safe Schools Coalition's "A Living Memory LGBT History Timeline" and the United Church of Christ's history.
To read the full timeline, click here.
|After a year of police raids, New York City's roster of 20 gay and lesbian restaurants and "personality clubs" is reduced to 3.
|1930||Encyclopedia of Sexual Knowledge illustrates first "sex-change" procedures.
|1935||"Successful" electric shock therapy treatment of homosexuality reported at American Psychological Association meeting.
|1941||"Transsexuality" first used in reference to homosexuality and bisexuality.
|1942||Switzerland decriminalizes adult homosexuality (men only; lesbianism was not outlawed to begin with).
|1943||U.S. military bars gays and lesbians from serving in the Armed Forces.
First known female-to-male sex change surgery, on Michael Dillon in Britain.
A Senate hearing reveals the majority of State Department dismissals are based on accusations of homosexuality; Senate approves wide-ranging investigation of homosexuals "and other moral perverts" in national government.
|1952||American Psychiatric Association includes homosexuality under "sociopathic personality disturbance" in its first official list of mental disorders.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders dismissal of all federal employees guilty of "sexual perversion".
Kinsey report on women's sexuality, including lesbian behavior, released.
|1954||Dr. Evelyn Hooker presents a study showing gay men are as well adjusted as straight men, at an American Psychological Association meeting.
"Transsexual" coined by Harry Benjamin.
American Civil Liberties Union approves a policy statement saying laws against sodomy and federal restrictions on employment of lesbians and gay men are constitutional.
|1960||First U.S. public gathering of lesbians, at San Francisco's Daughters of Bilitis national convention.
|1961||First openly gay person runs for U.S. public office (drag queen Jose Sarria, running for San Francisco city supervisor).
|1964|| "Life" magazine runs positive cover story on "Homosexuality in America."
First U.S. gay community center opens, in San Francisco, led by The Society for Individual Rights.
First transgender public uprising at San Francisco's Compton's Cafeteria.
|1967||England and Wales legalize male homosexuality.
|1967||"John" became "Joan" at John Hopkins Hospital after a circumcision accident; published case widely impacts gender theory.
The American Psychiatric Association moves homosexuality from "sociopathic" category to "sexual deviation".
Bi Alliance begins at the University of Minnesota.
National Institute of Mental Health study chaired by Dr. Evelyn Hooker urges decriminalization of private sex acts between consenting adults.
The United Church of Christ Council for Christian Social Action adopted the "Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law."
Unitarian Universalist Association becomes first U.S. mainstream religious group to recognize LGB clergy and laity within its ranks and to demand an end to anti-gay discrimination.
The Vatican issues a statement reiterating that homosexuality is a moral aberration.
The Rev. William R. Johnson became the first openly gay minister to be ordained in the United Church of Christ.
"Ithaca Statement on Bisexuality," by the Quaker Committee of Friends on Bisexuality, is published in "The Advocate"; National Bisexual Liberation Group forms in New York.
East Lansing, Michigan, becomes first city to ban anti-gay bias in city hiring.
American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.
The United Church of Christ's Executive Council adopted "Human Sexuality and Ordination," which recommended that congregations, Associations and Conferences initiate programs of study and dialogue with regard to the implications (meanings) of human sexuality, and the relationship between ordination and human sexuality.
First state-level openly gay person elected: Elaine Noble of Massachusetts.
Ohio Supreme Court rules that even though homosexuality is legal, the state can refuse to incorporate a gay organization because "the promotion of homosexuality as a valid life style is contrary to the public policy of the state."
|1975||U.S. Civil Service Commission stops banning gay men and lesbians from federal jobs.
1975 The 10th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Resolution on Human Sexuality and the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Persons."
1975 The 10th General Synod of the UCC also passed the "A Pronouncement: Civil Liberties without Discrimination Related to Affectional or Sexual Preference" resolution.
1976 Tales of the City published by the "San Francisco Chronicle," includes LGB and T characters.
1976 Lynn Ransom of California is one of the first openly lesbian mothers to win custody of her children in court.
1976 San Francisco Bisexual Center opens.
1977 The Rev. Anne Holmes became the first openly lesbian minister to be ordained in the United Church of Christ.
1977 Anita Bryant and Save Our Children succeed in repealing Miami law against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
1977 80% of surveyed Oregon doctors say they would refuse to treat a known homosexual.
1977 Arkansas recriminalizes gay sex after two years without such a law.
1977 The 11th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Recommendations in Regard to the Human Sexuality Study" and the "Resolution Deploring the Violation of Civil Rights of Gay and Bisexual Persons."
1980 First Harry Benjamin Standards produced for therapists working with transgender persons.
1980 Aaron Fricke takes Paul Guilbert to his high school prom after winning a lawsuit against the school.
1980 & 1981 The Executive Council of the UCC adopted the "Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Revision", where it affirmed its moral and legal commitment to support and implement a program of Equal Employment Opportunity.
1982 Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) founded.
1982 Gay Men's Health Crisis formed.
1983 Congressman Gerry Studds comes out; first federal official to come out as gay
while in office.
1983 The 14th General Synod of the UCC passed these resolutions:
- "Report of the Task Force for the Study of Human Sexuality." This resolution urged that attention and support be given to the development of proposals and programs to end sexual violence against men, women and children, regardless of their sexual orientation.
- "Resolution Recommending Inclusiveness on Association Church and Ministry Committees within the United Church of Christ."
- "Resolution in Response to the Concerns of Same-gender Oriented Persons and their Families within the United Church of Christ."
- "Resolution on the Institutionalized Homophobia within the United Church of Christ."
1984 Berkeley (CA) becomes first U.S. city to extend domestic partnership benefits to lesbian and gay employees.
1984 San Francisco Department of Public Health closes the city's bathhouses.
1985 First school for openly lesbian and gay teenagers opens in New York City (Harvey Milk School).
1985 Rock Hudson comes out, admits he has AIDS.
1985 The 15th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Resolution Calling on United Church of Christ Congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming." This
resolution encourages a policy on nondiscrimination in employment, volunteer service and membership policies with regard to sexual orientation; encourages the congregations of the United Church of Christ to adopt a nondiscrimination policy and a Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of persons of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation within the community of faith.
1987 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights; Names Project AIDS Memorial.
1987 What becomes BiNet USA formed.
1987 The 16th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Resolution on the Right to Privacy." This resolution urges individuals, congregations, Associations and Conferences to work for repeal of current laws which make private consensual sexual behavior a crime.
1988 National Coming Out Day launched.
1989 Jazz musician Billy Tipton dies and is revealed to be FTM.
1989 The 17th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Resolution Deploring Violence against Lesbian and Gay People."
1990 First National Bisexual Conference held in San Francisco.
1990 Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act passed; first law extending federal recognition of gay men and lesbians.
1991 First Black Lesbian and Gay Pride celebration held in Washington, D.C.
1991 The 18th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Resolution on Virginia Privacy Laws". This resolution urged the decriminalization of private and non-commercial sexual activity between consenting adults. General Synod also passed the "Resolution on Affirming Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Persons and their Ministries."
1992 World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its classification of illnesses.
1993 Intersex Society of North America founded.
1993 "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" U.S. military policy adopted.
1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation held.
1993 The 19th General Synod of the UCC passed the "Resolution Calling on the Church for Greater Leadership to End Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians".
1993 The 19th General Synod of the UCC also passed the "A Call to End the Ban against Gays and Lesbians in the Military" resolution.
1995 First U.S. conference for FTMs.
1995 President Clinton names the first-ever White House liaison to the gay and lesbian communities.
1996 Congress passes Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), forbidding federal recognition of (and benefits for) married same-sex couples.
1996 The Directorate of the Office of Church in Society of the UCC voted for "Equal Marriage Rights for Same-sex Couples."
1996 The Board of Directors of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries of the UCC voted for "Equal Marriage Rights for Same Gender Couples."
1997 South Africa becomes the first country to enact a constitutional ban outlawing sexual orientation discrimination.
1997 The 21st General Synod of the UCC passed the "Fidelity and Integrity in all Covenanted Relationships" resolution.
1998 Matthew Shepard murdered in Wyoming.
1998 The Executive Council of the UCC called for the "Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation". In this, they called for immediate passage of the Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998 and urged all United Church of Christ members to communicate support for this legislation to their congressional representatives.
1999 Britain bans discrimination against transgender people.
1999 The 22nd General Synod of the UCC passed the "Prevention of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth Suicide" resolution. General Synod also passed the "Affirming and Strengthening Marriage" resolution.
2000 British ban against lesbians and gay men serving in the military is lifted.
2000 Britain outlaws discrimination against lesbians and gay men.
2000 Vermont offers civil unions to same-sex couples.
2002 MTF teenager Gwen Araujo murdered by sex partners, in California.
2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional to deny marriage to gay and lesbians.
2003 The 24th General Synod of the UCC passed these resolutions:
- "Affirming the Participation and Ministry of Transgender People within the United Church of Christ and Supporting their Civil and Human Rights"
- "Reaffirming the United Church of Christ's Denouncement of Violence Against Lesbian and Gay People and Calling for the Inclusion of Transgender people within that Anti-violence Statement"
- "The United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America" resolution. This resolution encouraged settings of the church to urge the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America to adopt a membership policy that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.
2004 In the United Kingdom, transgender people are allowed to change the gender on their birth certificates.
2004 Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
2004 The Executive Council of the UCC released a "Call to Action and Invitation to Dialogue on Marriage" during their April meeting.
2005 New Zealand first country to outlaw employment discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of gender identity.
2005 "Equal Marriage Rights for All" resolution passed by the 25th General Synod of the UCC.
2006 Bishop Ronald Warren of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) filed formal charges against ELCA pastor, Rev. Bradley Schmeling, because of his committed relationship with Rev. Darin Easler.
2007 The US House decided to divide the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into two pieces of legislation – one focusing on sexual orientation and the other on gender identity. ENDA would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
2008 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot and killed, a day after a verbal exchange with 14-year-old Brandon McInerney and his friends. King, an eighth-grader who identified as gay and occasionally wore makeup, high heels and other feminine attire to E. O. Green Junior High School, was shot in the head while in class at school.
2008 Rally at National Center for Transgender Equality Lobby Day to end transgender discrimination.
2008 The UCC Florida Conference passed a resolution at its annual meeting in opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
2008 California Supreme Court overturns ban on same-sex marriage; gay-marriage opponents bid to get proposed amendment on ballot.
2009 The General Synod of the UCC has joined an Amicus Curiae brief (friend of the court brief) with both California-Nevada Conferences, the California Council of Churches and others in support of the petitioners claiming that Prop 8 should be ruled invalid.
2009 The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act / Matthew Shepard Act (LLEHCPA) was introduced in the 111th Congress in the House and in the Senate.
2009 "Affirming Diversity/Multi-Cultural Education in the Public Schools" resolution passed by the 27th General Synod of the UCC. This resolution urges churches to assist public school efforts to protect children and help them understand people of other races and sexual orientation.
2009 The House of Representatives passed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act / Matthew Shepard Act (LLEHCPA) (H.R. 1913) by a vote of 249-175.
2009 A fully inclusive version of ENDA (H.R. 3017) was introduced in the House as well as the Senate.
2009 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts sued the US government over the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was enacted in 1996.
2010 In Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty signed into law the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, and marriage licenses became available on March 3, 2010. This amendment act allows same-sex couples to marry in the city itself.
2010 Maryland's Attorney General declared that although Maryland does not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the state is able to provide marriage rights and benefits to same-sex couples married outside of Maryland.
2010 Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn R. Walker. His decision declared that Prop 8 violates both the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution, the first time the ban on gay marriage has been ruled unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution.
2010 The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns expanded its criteria for new Open and Affirming (ONA) Statements to include gender identity and gender expression effective July 14, 2010.
To read the full timeline, click here.
UCC Resources carries ONA and other LGBT related published by the UCC, Pilgrim Press and the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns.
Open and Affirming Study Packet - a resource for the ONA study process!
Download a copy of the UCC Resources and Publications catalog related to LGBT concerns
Building an Inclusive Church - training and toolkit resources for preparing and facilitating the ONA process
Called Out E-News: Subscribe Today!
Stay up-to-date on the progress of the Open and Affirming Program, LGBT advocacy opportunities, and what our office and others are doing for and with the LGBT community.
LGBT History Timeline
A timeline of events related to the LGBT community from 1925 to the present.
William R Johnson Scholarship
established to encourage and support qualified openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender UCC Master of Divinity candidates.
Now, No Condemnation by Rev. Paul Sherry, past President of the UCC. This is a pastoral letter written to the church (November 1998) on the rights of LGBT persons in society and inclusion in the full mission and ministry of the UCC.
Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality by Walter Wink, PhD (1935-2012), Auburn Theological Seminary, New York, NY
What the Bible Says–and Doesn’t Say–About Homosexuality, by Rev. Mel White, founder of Soul Force and former ghost writer for several well-known American evangelicals.
DVD Resources (Order online or call: 800-537-3394)
bi-sex'u-al and A Position of Faith
Two videos about sexual orientation, have been combined onto one DVD.
bi-sex’ u-al was created to encourage dialogue about bisexual orientation and identification. This video will not answer all questions about bisexuality. It is an introduction to three individuals through their own stories of faith and sexuality. We hope it will inspire you to think deeply about these stories, and your own story, in the light of faith.
A Position of Faith On June 25, 1972, William (Bill) R. Johnson became the first openly gay person to be ordained to the Christian ministry. This video tells the story of this landmark event and the process that made it possible. The story is poignant and inspirational, and includes a letter from Bill Johnson’s mother, interviews with Bill, young people and church leaders (clergy and lay), who either supported or opposed Bill’s candidacy.
One man’s struggle with faith, love and gender identity.
Also see: www.callmemalcolm.com
Transgender Day of Remembrance [PDF]
November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance. This PDF is a pastoral letter and prayer from the UCC's LGBT Ministries Office.
A Prayer in Silence
Students and teachers nationwide observe a day in silence in April to echo the silence that LGBT and ally students face everyday. The Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the country. For more information go to: www.dayofsilence.org.
Out in Scripture
This Human Rights Campaign resource places weekly comments about the Bible alongside real life experiences and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of faith and our allies.
- UCC Coalition
- Believe Out Loud
- UCC LGBT Ministries Facebook Page
- UCAN (UCC HIV & AIDS Network)
- UCC: Our Whole Lives, comprehensive sexuality education
- Institute for Welcoming Resources - National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- Religion and Faith Program – Human Rights Campaign
- Religious Institute
- Gay Christian Network
- TransFaith Online
- Pacific School of Religion: Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry
- Chicago Theological Seminary: LGBTQ Religious Studies Center
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
100's of organizations, including UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and the UCC Wider Church Ministries' Office for LGBT Ministries, are working with members of congress to get an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimnation Act (ENDA) passed in this Congress. The strong UCC General Synod policy basis for support of an inclusive ENDA includes the 10th General Synod of the United Church of Christ (1975) pronouncement, Civil Liberties without Discrimination. It declared,
discrimination related to sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other civil liberties, inflicts an incalculable burden of fear into the lives of persons in society and in the church whose orientation is toward persons of the same gender. …We hold, as a child of God, every person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside. Denial and violation of the civil liberties of the individual and their right to equal protection under the law defames that worth and dignity and is, therefore, morally wrong.
It is still legal in 33 states to fire or refuse to hire someone simply because of his or her sexual orientation. In 39 states, it is legal to do so solely based on an individual's gender identity. Judging workers solely on their ability to do the job and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity is a basic civil right. Yet there is still no federal law protecting individuals from such discrimination.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. It would create protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people that are similar to those available under existing federal discrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity and expression. The removal of transgender persons from protections was opposed by many LGBT and allied activist, including LGBT and allied leaders in the UCC. The bill stalled in the Senate and was never voted on.
Relevant UCC General Synod Resolutions include:
- 1975 – Pronouncement: Civil Liberties without Discrimination
- 1985 – Resolution: Open and Affirming
- 1996 – Resolution: Greater Leadership to End Discrimination
- 2003 – Resolution: Transgender Inclusion and Human Rights
- Click here to join the UCC's Justice Peace Action Network and take action in support of ENDA.
In DC, make their phone ring!
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and have them connect you to your Representative (based on your zip code). Tell them: "I am a constituent, a person of faith and I would like you to please tell Representative [your Representative's name] that I strongly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would ban discrimination against all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
Then, call back and leave messages with your two Senators too!
At home, set up a visit!
Request an in-person meeting for you and other community members with your two Senators and your Representative (or their staffs) in their home district offices. You can call the district offices to request these meetings but they often want you to fax a meeting request. To find contact info for district offices, go to http://www.senate.gov/ and http://www.house.gov/.
United ENDA is a coalition of 100s of organizations, including the UCC Office for LGBT Concerns, working to get an ENDA that includes gender identity and expression. United ENDA is tracking the meetings to learn where this new Congress stands. Click here (unitedenda.org) go to fill out the Lobby Report Form available from United ENDA. It's the best way to let us know how your meeting went and whether your Representative and Senators expressed support.
- Help educate your congregation, family and friends.
Sunday, January 31, 2016
(Any Sunday may be chosen for the observance.)
Health and Human Service Sunday is a special opportunity to create awareness of the health concerns of our communities and world, and to learn about the many and various health and human service ministries of the United Church of Christ. It is observed annually in the United Church of Christ and is an opportunity to talk about health in a holistic way, address the issues of justice in our health care systems and learn about how each of us can become involved.
The resources for observing Health and Human Service are available throughout the year and may be used for the many opportunities congregations and other organizations have for creating awareness of and responding to the health needs of their communities and throughout the world.
A Litany for Diakonal Ministry
Leader: God, our loving creator
People: Make us care enough to trust you.
L: Jesus, friend of all – even the outcasts, the apathetic, all those marginalized
P: Open our eyes to see you in all creation – including the outcasts, the apathetic, all those marginalized.
L: Holy Spirit, God’s fire, make us sharers in the holiness of God
P: Guide us in the direction of those who are vulnerable.
L: God of grace, who creates us into a new community
P: Warm our hearts and souls to love our neighbors as we love you.
L: God of love, you are a wellspring of hope and compassion
P: Give us strength and courage to be a sanctuary to those who are in need of grace and mercy
L: God, our refuge and strength, help our congregations be places of extravagant welcome
P: Help us work tirelessly to make changes in ourselves and in our communities that model a welcoming spirit.
L: Creator God, with your love you support and sustain us.
P: Help us recreate the human community to promote justice and peace for the healing of the earth.
L: O God, pour upon us the precious oil of unity
P: Let us move forward together with one mind and one spirit
L: Almighty God, you have called us to feed the hungry welcome the stranger; shelter the homeless; clothe the naked; and comfort the sick and imprisoned.
P: Help us to remember that we are an extension of Jesus Christ’s ministry in the world. Give us courage to practice diakonia – the ministry of healing, service, care compassion and hospitality.
All: Where the Church is, there is the mission. Where the Church is, there are those who have been called to live “for the sake of the other.” Let the love and grace of God be made visible in our mission in health and human service.
Legacies of Compassion and Human Service
Stories from UCC-related health and human service agencies
Health and Human Service Sunday Archives
To check-out resources from previous years, click here.
Called Out eNews is the electronic newsletter on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns produced by the the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office of Wider Church Ministries.
To subscribe, click here.
Called Out eNews 2010-08-10 [PDF]
Called Out eNews 2007-11-19
Called Out eNews 2007-10-11
Called Out eNews 2007-10-01
Called Out eNews 2007-07-10
Called Out eNews 2007-06-19 [PDF]
Called Out eNews 2007-04-11 [PDF]
Called Out eNews 2007-01-01 [PDF]
- Marriage Equality and the UCC
- Sign on: "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality"
- Press Releases
Watch Faith and Morality Play Major Roles in Gay Marriage Debate on PBS.
Aspects of religion and morality have been used as the basis for arguments by both sides of the debate on same-sex marriage. Ray Suarez talks with Michael Schuenemeyer, minister for the United Church of Christ, and Richard Langer, a minister with the Evangelical Free Church of America, to learn how they've approached the topic.
The UCC is part of the United for Marriage Coalition.
Click here to see photos from the Interfaith Service and Rallies at the U.S. Supreme Court for the oral arguments in the two marriage cases: Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop 8) and Windsor v. United States (Defense of Marriage Act - DOMA), March 26 & 27, 2013.
Marriage Equality and the UCC
Marriage is one of the most significant institutions in our culture. The sacred and civil, church and state dimensions of marriage are complex and often muddled, which makes marriage one of the most challenging issues to discuss in the church and beyond.
On July 4, 2005, at the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Atlanta, delegates voted to adopt the resolution, "Equal Marriage Rights for All" The resources below are provided to help facilitate conversations and study throughout the church and society on this complex and challenging matter which has important implications for individuals, families and the wider community. They are intended to get people of faith talking about the purposes of marriage, looking more closely at how marriage has evolved and changed through time biblically and socially, exploring the theology of marriage, and critically discerning the appropriate roles for the church and the state in marriage.
The colleagues who worked together to prepare these resources join the Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ who, in calling us to this important dialog say, "let us explore our faith in relation to these issues: the meaning of Christian marriage, the blessing of unions among same-sex couples, the honoring of diverse expressions of loving and caring human relationships, being guided in all things by the love of Jesus. Above all, may these conversations be ventured in humility and prayer."
General Synod 25 (2005) Marriage Resolution
Reflections by General Minister and President, The Rev. John H. Thomas
Call to Action and Invitation to Dialogue, UCC Executive Council (2004)
Call to Dialogue, UCC Conference Ministers (1996)
Please consider signing-on to the
Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing's "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality"
Online clergy registry being developed
If you are clergy living in California and you will perform same sex marriages, please register with California Faith for Equality.
To register click here.
Inclusive Liturgy from the UCC Book of Worship
Certificate - An embossed certificate for presentation to a couple at their covenant service (envelope included).
Produced by the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns. Click here to order online, or call UCC Resources at 800-537-3394800-537-3394.
God Is Still Speaking about Marriage [Newly Revised, June 2008]
Recommended by General Synod 25
- An in depth Christian education study resource on marriage, including marriage equality for same gender loving couples.
Free Download [PDF] or call UCC Resources to order [Item# WCMGSM], 800-537-3394800-537-3394.
Sacred Covenants, Faithful Conversation, a DVD resource for talking about marriage.
This DVD contains two items: a 30 minute video on the question of marriage equality in light of the resolution adopted by General Synod 25 (2005) and the 45 minute floor debate on the marriage equality resolution at General Synod 25. Order from UCC Resourcesor call (toll free) 800-537-3394800-537-3394, Item# WCMSCFC
UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns
Marriage Equality Debate
This is an audio link to a debate on the civil right to marry for same sex couples held at Stanford University School of Law, on April 20, 2005. The participants in the debate were Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry and Rev. Lou Sheldon, President of the Traditional Values Coalition.
- Witness for Justice: In defense of... by Bernice Powell Jackson
- Witness for Justice: Defending what? by Bernice Powell Jackson
- Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical analysis by Marvin Ellison, (Pilgrim Press 2004)
- What God Has Joined Together, A Christian Case for Gay Marriage by David G. Myers and Letha Dawson Scanzoni (Harper San Francisco 2005)
- Gay Unions in the Light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason by Gray Temple (Church Publishing 2004)
- Why Marriage Matters, America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry by Evan Wolfson (Simon and Schuster 2004)
- Same Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell (Vintage Books 1994)
- Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family by Rosemary Radford Ruether (Beacon Press 2000)
To the faithful who worked to defeat Question 1 in Maine
- To the faithful who worked to defeat Question 1 in Maine
- UCC's Southern California Nevada Conference reaffirms support for same-gender marriage
- Northern California Nevada Conference affirms California Court decision
- California Supreme Court rules for marriage equality, UCC leaders respond
- UCC official applauds Senate vote against Federal Marriage Amendment
- John Thomas calls on senators to 'respect U.S. Constitution' and vote against marriage amendment
- General Synod overwhelmingly calls for "full marriage equality"
- John Thomas publicly endorses marriage equality resolution
- John Thomas' prayer offered after marriage equality vote
- John Thomas press statement after marriage equality vote
- Andrew Young says Synod's affirmation of marriage equality would be prophetic
- National Coalition for the Freedom to Marry
- Lambda Legal
- American Foundation for Equal Rights
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- Claiming the Blessings
- Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
- Study Circles Group