Pride Season and People of Faith

by Karen Kulm, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Vancouver, WA
June is International LGBT Pride month, commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion of June 1969. Stonewall is celebrated as the beginning of the modern movement for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

In 1972, the United Church of Christ (UCC) ordained the Rev. Bill Johnson, the first openly gay person ordained in a mainline Protestant church. In 2005, the General Synod of the UCC voted overwhelmingly to “affirm equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender,” thereby becoming the first mainline denomination, and the largest Christian denomination in the world, to support same-sex marriage. Yet now in 2013, only twelve states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Twenty-nine states still have no law barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 34 states also lack such state protections based on gender identity.



SATURDAY, MAY 4,  2013  9 am – 5 pm
Central Lutheran Church
1820 NE 21st Ave., Portland, OR 97212

You are cordially invited to attend this special interfaith conference featuring keynote speaker Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, theologian, author, and Deputy Director of Religion & Faith Programs for the Human Rights Campaign.  MacArthur served as the Faith Director for Marylanders for Marriage Equality.  Also presenting will be Bishop Bonnie Radden, Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, and Oregon United for Marriage.

Learn why marriage matters for same-gender couples and how progressive people of faith are helping to win the freedom to marry.  Attend workshops where you will learn how to start a conversation about the freedom to marry with family &  friends (dispelling myths & misinformation) and how to get your message of support out to the community.  Learn how your religious community can support the movement to bring marriage equality to Oregon.

Registration is $15 at the door (scholarships available).  Please RSVP with CONFERENCE in the subject line to :

From Unaware to Activist – One Man’s LGBT Journey

by Dave Sutton, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, Portland, OR

I’m really good at hindsight. That’s why it’s so easy for me to ask, “How could I have been so unaware?”

My theology was first formed by my Methodist pastor father constantly and joyfully sharing the “good news” that grace was not earned but available to all simply for the accepting. The foundation of my theology today is “God loves me. And you. And you, too”. The disconnect between the good news and the old attitudes and slurs about LGBT people never occurred to me. It was long before I knew any term that wasn’t derisive for people of a different sexual preference than mine. Of course I didn’t know any of those people personally, or at least I wasn’t aware (there’s that word again) I did. The pain of staying closeted was less than the devastating judgment, derision and discrimination these people would face if they were “out.”

My personal dam cracked when I learned the lesbian daughter of a former pastor of my Methodist church in Olympia, Washington was not welcome there, and if we raised the issue, “It would split this church in half.” My shock was first that anyone was not welcome in my church. How could that be right?