struggle, and have struggled with the idea of separation of Church and State. Especially in Anglo American churches. We are not as defined as Black Churches who really get involved and take a stance. They are socially liberal, but really very much conservative. What I try to do in the UCC is try to preach values, stay with understanding the core values of the Gospel, then encourage actions by people in the community. I personally try to lead. For example, when we became an open and affirming Church, everyone knew where I stood.
Further in my email conversation with The Reverend Michael, I asked this question that follows with his response. Will you comment on the blessing service he notes and tell us if you use it or know of others in the area that uses it?
Have you a standard service for either or both, and may I see the text?
Yes. It is a gender neutral version of the Order of Marriage in our book of worship.
Link: Order for Marriage – an inclusive version [PDF]
i. The Reverend Michael D. Schuenemeyer is Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy Wider Church Ministries Senior Minister, Reverend Matt Broadbent: This format of his is kind of the template we operate from. And we are free to change and adjust it as we want. We are really bottoms up Church…to the independent of thinking, and the decisions are made by the congregations themselves.
Thank you for this interview via email questions and answers. Is there anything else you’d like to add or say?
Senior Minister, Reverend Matt Broadbent: Not at this point. I think I’m about talked out.
Addendum: The Publisher Pilgrim Press (United Church of Christ) recommends these book titles on Gay Marriage:
Same Sex Marriage?: Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples is front-page news, and hotly contested in both church and society. This critical book is written by a gay man and progressive Christian ethicist who places justice making at the heart of contemporary spirituality. In dialogue with both legal scholars and theologians, the author examines the strengths and weaknesses of how marriage traditionalists, advocates of same-sex marriage, and LBGT (lesbian/bisexual/gay/transgender) critics of marriage analyze the issues and frame their arguments. This book offers constructive proposals for revitalizing Christian sexual ethics and moving the debate forward, regardless of whether the right to marry is won or lost.
Exile or Embrace: This book is a helpful guide for pastors and congregations asking such questions as:
How will we as a congregation be in covenant with our gay members?
How will we respond to homosexuals outside the church? Part One tells the story of Siler’s congregation’s struggle and growth as it pondered whether to become openly welcoming of gay and lesbian Christians.
Part Two assists congregational leaders in discerning how and when to engage in this congregational conversation.
Part Three is a study guide outlining seven sessions to shape the congregational conversation and discernment.
God Comes Out:
“Readers will welcome this book, not only for its wisdom and compassion, but also for its practical suggestions about how to initiate liberating conversation about sexual differences. Pastors especially will gain deep insight into how preaching a fully inclusive gospel can draw our communities into a more faithful realization of the reign of God. Hinnant demonstrates again and again how preaching is above all a theological act, a giving witness to the justice and compassion of God.” ~Thomas H. Troeger, Yale Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music.
Image: (1) Portrait The Reverend Matt Broadbent.
Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco). My blog: http://www.petermenkin.blogspot.com