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Faithful Fridays

Friday, June 24, 2022

Celebrating Fifty Years!

Open and Affirming Coalition

Fifty years ago, in 1972, a courageous and visionary band of queer leaders in the United Church of Christ (with their straight allies) founded the "UCC Gay Caucus," the forerunner of the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ.

Earlier that year on June 25, 1972, the United Church of Christ made history when William R. Johnson became the first openly gay man ordained to ministry in an historic Christian church. Bill’s ordination, by the Golden Gate Association in the Northern California/Nevada Conference, opened doors for a new generation of openly LGBTQ leaders in our church. Ten years later, on April 25, 1982, Anne Holmes became the first openly lesbian minister ordained in the UCC.

National ONA Sunday this weekend is an opportunity to give thanks in public worship for Bill and Anne, and for all the queer clergy whose gifts have enriched and strengthened the United Church of Christ.

We share this video from Bill, who now lives at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, CA, marking his ordination. We'll be celebrating Bill and Anne, and the 50th anniversary of the Coalition's founding in 1972, at our virtual National ONA Gathering Aug. 5-7.

The movement Bill and many others built over the years has now become the largest and fastest-growing LGBTQ+ church movement in the world! During those decades the Coalition has led the United Church of Christ towards a vision of a community gathered in the name of Jesus Christ where all are wanted, all are welcome, and no one is left behind.


This work to which we have been called is not yet complete.

Learn more about Open and Affirming here

Hope Beyond Roe - A Service of Gathering and Lament


Join the officers and members of the national staff of the United Church of Christ for a time to lament and to claim hope in the wake of SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade. Sign-up to participate in the webinar here.

Annual Celebration - Date Correction

The Annual Celebration dates previously published were short by one day. The correct dates are Wednesday, October 19 through Saturday, October 22. If you have an idea for a workshop (about 60 minutes long) which you would be willing to present please submit it for consideration. The deadline to submit is July 22nd. Click here to fill out the form online.

Tips for Religious Leaders in a Post-Roe America

On June 9, Chris Davies (Team Leader for Faith INFO) shared tips for clergy in a potential post-Roe America in the Witness for Justice Issue #1103. This morning a post-Roe America became our reality when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Chris shares different ways to pray, to reflect and learn, and to act. 

Click here to find out how you can respond as a person of faith. 

Election Day is June 28th! 

The General Primary election in Illinois is coming up, next Tuesday, June 28th. In the United Church of Christ, we believe that every vote is sacred. The UCC "Our Faith Our Vote" Campaign is "our ongoing commitment to equip you with the tools for nonpartisan faithful engagement in our democratic process." Find the resources here.

Find information about voter registration, polling places and more at the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Ohio State University - 

Black Religious and Social Life Project

Ohio State University is looking to hear about the religious experiences of black LGBQ people in Chicago. If you (1) are black or African-American, (2) identify as non-heterosexual (i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer), and (3) currently or previously attended a Christian church regularly, please consider participating in a 90-minute interview. Each participant will receive $20 for their time. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the Metropolitan Chicago area. All information will be kept confidential. Sign-up here.

First Congregational in Western Springs

is now an Open and Affirming Church!

Please join us in welcoming First Congregational Church in Western Springs, IL, as a newly-certified Open and Affirming congregation! As ONA church #1772, First Congregational is now part of the largest and fastest-growing LGBTQ-affirming church movement in the world!

The church’s ONA Covenant reads:

We, the First Congregational Church of Western Springs, United Church of Christ, strive to be people of extravagant welcome. We affirm that all people are created in the image of God, and we celebrate the diversity of God’s creation. As we seek to become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and endeavor to live out our shared mission, we respect and gladly receive persons of every race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, mental and physical ability, age, socioeconomic status, marital standing and family structure, and religious background. We affirm that the Holy Spirit gathers us as a congregation in which all persons are invited to participate in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings, concerns, and joys of our community of faith. We hope and pray that by establishing and embodying this covenant of inclusion, we might fully follow Christ’s commandment to love God and neighbor and be a safe place where God’s love abounds.

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FAITHFUL FRIDAYS is published by the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1840 Westchester Blvd, Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. The Rev. Molly Carlson, Conference Minister; Sarah Lohrbach, Editor. Copy may be sent to: 

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