Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

A good story about a Christian church

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Jack Jenkins has a very nice report at ThinkProgress:

ASHEVILLE, NC — It was a rainy October morning when Associate Minister Gary Mitchell half-sprinted up to the glass entrance of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville, North Carolina, waving frantically as he approached. He looked excited but slightly out-of-sorts, a white robe flapping over his shoulder and rainbow-colored pastoral stole clenched in his first.

“Can I help you?” Mitchell asked, a smile widening across his face as he swung open the door. I explained that I was a reporter, here to interview the head pastor. He looked disappointed.

“Oh, I thought you might be here to get married,” he said. “People keep walking up, ringing the doorbell, and asking if we’ll marry them.”

The minister raised his stole aloft, grinning again: “I just finished one!”

First Congregational UCC has hosted dozens of same-sex weddings since North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down on October 10 of this year. Built out of stones and mortar and celebrating its 100-year anniversary this past June, the anachronistic exterior of the church belies a cutting-edge theology preached within: over the past three years, the medium-sized congregation has become the epicenter of a burgeoning faith-based movement for LGBT justice in North Carolina, supporting advocates and organizations to help bring marriage equality to the Tar Heel State. Most recently, the church played a crucial role in helping muster faith-based support for the lawsuit that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The story behind General Synod of the UCC v. Reisinger — which was filed by a group of progressive clergy and facilitated by the Campaign for Southern Equality, an LGBT advocacy group housed within First Congregational UCC — is an unusual anecdote within the larger narrative of America’s slow embrace of gay rights. Public opinion has shifted towards acceptance of marriage equality in recent years, but religious groups have remained staunch opponents of LGBT rights, especially within the American Southeast, where opposition to marriage for same-sex couples is the highest in the country. Yet the efforts of First Congregational UCC, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and a constellation of other faith-based advocates in North Carolina paint a very different picture of gay rights organizing, and may offer a glimpse into the future of LGBT advocacy in the South. . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

18 November 2014 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Daily life, Law, Religion

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