Monday, June 27, 2016

Faux Pastor Jon's Shared Ministry Worship Service: Looking Back at Rev. Bill Johnson's Ordination // First Openly Gay Man Ordained as Minister within a Mainline Christian Denomination

I've been having one of those weeks where blogging is pretty much impossible to do. Not enough time for anything but work, errands, and special projects. One of the special projects that I worked on this week was worship service at Faith United Church of Christ in Iowa City. I've been a member of Faith UCC for nearly 20 years. At Faith UCC, we do something called "shared ministry." In part, it's a reminder that we are to minister to each other in all areas of the Church.

However, shared ministry also takes on a unique function at Faith UCC. Once every month, our pastor takes the week off and a member or a group of members plans and organizes Sunday worship. This Sunday was my shared ministry Sunday.

I had a much different plan originally for worship, but then last week I shifted gears and decided to do a special viewing of "A Position of Faith" (here and here) and talk a bit about Rev. William Johnson. Johnson was the first openly gay man to be ordained as a minister within a mainline Christian denomination. This was back in 1972 within the United Church of Christ. You can read more about Rev. Bill Johnson here.

My church has been an Open & Affirming Church for roughly 25 years. We welcome and affirm all members, regardless of sexual orientation. We have had LGBT members and leaders. LGBT members are allowed to join Council, to lead worship, to teach Sunday School, to do pretty much anything. We've had both gay and lesbian pastors in the past. The church performs wedding ceremonies for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The issue of LGBT inclusion is pretty much a non-issue for us.

But it was good for our church community to look back and see where we've come and to learn about our church heritage. And it was well-received by those in worship.

You can watch "A Position of Faith" here and here.

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