A Selected Chronology of Relevant Actions and Events
Selected Chronology of Sexuality Education in the UCC:
Relevant Actions and Events
2023 marks the 50th year of the UCC’s commitment to sexuality education. We welcome you to explore the timeline below and learn about our remarkable milestones.
The Executive Council of the UCC recommends that local churches, associations and conferences “initiate programs of study and dialog with regard to the implications (meanings) of human sexuality, in all its mystery, at its broadest and deepest levels in the theological context.” (EC, October 1973, Cited in “Human Sexuality: A Preliminary Study,” 1977)
General Synod 10 asks the Executive Council “to commission a study concerning the dynamics of human sexuality” (75-GS-65, Minutes, 1975, p.68.)
Human Sexuality: A Preliminary Study—United Church of Christ is published by the UCBHM. (New York: United Church Press, 1977. ISBN 0-8209- 0341-6.)
General Synod 11 receives the above, commends to settings of church for study and response, and asks United Church Board of Homeland Ministries to provide leadership in developing resources for use by various age groups in local churches and beyond. (77-GS-64. Minutes, 1977, pp. 65-66. Also: pp. 75-76.)
General Synod 12 forms a “National Task Force” on human sexuality to “encourage and facilitate the continuing study of human sexuality by all congregations, associations, conferences and other groups within the church,” to “identify, test, and publicize various models of study” and to report to the Synod in four years. (79-GS-40. Minutes, 1979, p.60.)
General Synod 13 names “Family Life” one of four “priorities” in the UCC and designates UCBHM as coordinator of this work in the national setting.
General Synod 14 adopts the report of the National Task Force and asks UCBHM to “develop resources on human sexuality for use in local churches” (83-GS-34. Minutes, 1983, 47.)
At its January meeting, the Executive Committee of the UCBHM Board of Directors commits the UCBHM to a three-year initiative to fulfill the request of the Fourteenth General Synod.
A UCBHM survey, “Ask the Churches About Faith and Sexuality,” receives responses from some 3,000 members of 75 local churches within 11 U.S. areas. Eighty-three percent say they want help from their church in addressing human-sexuality questions and concerns.
General Synod 15 called upon United Church of Christ congregations to declare themselves open and affirming by encouraging congregations to adopt a policy of non-discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and to adopt a Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of persons of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation.
UCBHM develops and field-tests a new human-sexuality learning program for adults, Created in God’s Image—A Human Sexuality Program for Ministry and Mission.
1991: UCBHM and the Unitarian Universalist Association convene a Sexuality Education Task Force “to create a vision for a positive and comprehensive life-span sexuality education program.” Throughout its work, the Sexuality Education Task Force was guided by these words from its philosophy statement: “We come together as representatives of two denominations to create a vision for a positive and comprehensive life-span sexuality education program… a safe environment within which people can come to understand and respond to the challenges facing them as sexual beings.”
General Synod 18, a Resolution is voted, affirming the ministries of gay, lesbian, and bisexual Christians. (91-GS-66, Minutes, p. 71.)
Staff reports of UCBHM’s Divisional Committees for the Division of the American Missionary Association and Division of Education and Publication begin to include updates about action concerning the work of the ecumenical Sexuality Education Task Force.
Created in God’s Image—A Human Sexuality Program for Ministry and Mission is published and in consultation with conferences, UCBHM continues to offer regional and conference trainings for the teaching of this resource for adults.
The original UCBHM-UUA Sexuality Education Task Force recommends that the two denominations jointly publish a life-span learning program in human sexuality for use in local churches.
UCBHM Board authorizes staff to pursue a jointly published human sexuality learning program with the Unitarian Universalist Association and grants permission to seek outside funding sources.
A new UCBHM-UUA Sexuality Education Task Force is formed to develop new materials which eventually come to be identified as Our Whole Lives.
An author is engaged to write religious companion materials for Grade K-1 and Grades 4-6.
Thirty-four local church people received training and 10 UCC congregations field-test the Grades 7-9 and Grades 10-12 portions of Our Whole Lives.
United Church News carries an in-depth article (May 1999, p. 5.) Twenty-six UCC trainers are carefully selected and trained in all grades of the resource..
Children, youth and adult resources of the comprehensive Our Whole Lives—Sexuality and Our Faith program are published and training of local churches begins.
Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ becomes the ministry that continues the work of UCBHM in the area of human sexuality education.
All Conference Ministers received a full set of Our Whole Lives—Sexuality and Our Faith. They are encouraged to house these resources in a resource center where folk could review them.
Minister for Children, Families and Human Sexuality Advocacy, Justice and Witness Ministries, begins work in the national setting of the UCC.
The Young Adult Our Whole Lives Resource (ages 18-35) is published by the UUA. UCC portion of Sexuality and Our Faith included.
The Adult Our Whole Lives UCC companion resource, Sexuality and Our Faith, is written by Rev. T. Michael Rock and Ms. Lynn Young.
Over 1100 UCC adults have been trained as facilitators in the use of Our Whole Lives resources.
Additional Train the Trainer events are held to increase the number of UCC and UUA Trainers of Facilitators.
The Second Editions of Our Whole Lives for Grades 7-9 and Sexuality and Our Faith for Grades 7-9 are published.
A formal Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Our Whole Lives partnership between the UUA and the UCC is signed by the presidents of both denominations.
The Second Editions of Our Whole Lives for Grades 4-6, Sexuality and Our Faith for Grades 4-6, and The Parent Guide for Our Whole Lives Grades K-1 and 4-6 are published.
A Training of Trainers is held to increase the number and diversity of UCC and UUA Trainers of Facilitators.
Our Whole Lives for Older Adults and Sexuality and Our Faith for Older Adults is published.
Our Whole Lives quarterly newsletter launches, and Our Whole Lives Taking Flight webinar series begins.
Online facilitator training for UCC and UUA members debuts.
The Second Edition of Our Whole Lives for K-1 is published.