Celebrating 25 Years as Open & Affirming at IUCC

Irvine United Congregational Church is celebrating 25 years of welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions into the full community and life of the church. The church was a pioneer in becoming the first Orange County congregation to adopt an Open and Affirming declaration and later became a leader in the fight for marriage equality. Irvine UCC will celebrate this monumental anniversary with an event featuring former IUCC pastor the Rev. Fred Plumer.

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Gender-inclusive Bathroom Signs

Last month, PCU leadership discussed our need to respond to anti-transgender rhetoric and discrimination in our society. It’s easy to condemn bigotry but harder to think of creative ways to respond. We determined that we would find a way to promote gender-inclusive bathroom signs in progressive churches.

We found an organization making such signs, and they have agreed to sell them to any church who wants one at a discount of 40% from their regular price. Just go to their website, pick out the sign you want to purchase (can choose color, shape, and image) and put in the following code: PCU40. You can read more about the campaign here.

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Journey of Faith Sermon – Rev. Fred Plumer – IUCC on the 25th Anniversary of Open and Affirming

  View Video of Fred’s Sermon at IUCC on June 12th, 2016 My story starts 35 years ago when I entered seminary. Pacific School of Religion is the oldest seminary on the west coast and has always …

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‘Open and Affirming’: Irvine Church is a Haven for LGBT

On a hot day in June 1991, about 130 church members packed the Irvine United Congregational Church sanctuary. The air conditioner wasn’t working. At least, that’s how it felt. “It was tense,” said the Rev. Fred Plumer, the church’s founder and pastor at the time. “There was a lot of excitement and anticipation.” They’d all come to cast their votes. The issue? Should they become an “open and affirming church?” In other words, should the church welcome LGBT members?

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Find Your Orlando

At first I intended only to post this rainbow flag at half-mast in front of a church—so overwhelmed and silenced I was by the carnage at the LGBT nightclub in Orlando this past weekend.

May those who lost their lives rest in peace. May those who are injured heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. May those who lost loved ones find healing ways to grieve.

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The Tragedy of the Orlando, Florida Massacre

I grieve deeply over these attacks. I grieve even more when one of our candidates for the presidency of this nation seeks to use this tragedy to score political points. I am amazed to hear not only innuendo from one of them, but also actual hints that the president of the United States is either so weak and inept as to be helpless in the face of this threat, or is actually in collusion with these terrorists, thus revising the charges this candidate once made that our president was not born in the United States, but in Kenya, and is really a Muslim. As lawyer Joseph Welsh once said to Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin when he was on a witch hunt for communists: “Have you no sense of decency?” Those words are once more totally in order to be spoken in our national life at this time.

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A Prayer For Orlando

Fifty.
Today, a number of tragedy
symbol of guns drawn, shots fired, sheer horror.
I prayed that it was not religious extremism.
But it was.
Again.
Once more, lives lost senselessly invoking the name of God.
And so I grieve.
I let myself feel the grief and the tears.

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Beyond Romance to Spiritual Love

Progressives often seem to feel a kind of compassion fatigue from being asked to be concerned about so many different issues of injustice. Perhaps the issue is that we give ourselves permission to give up because we get tired, or bored, or we allow indifference to get the best of us. Perhaps the spiritual prescription for the church is that they should choose to love more.

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United Methodist Church’s Inhospitality Toward Its LGBTQs

The United Methodist Church is in the need of prayer. And, one that emphasizes full inclusion of all its parishioners.

At General Conference this month in Portland the struggle to move the church’s moral compass against its anti-LGBTQ policies was courageously demonstrated when over 100 United Methodist Church(UMC) ministers and faith leaders came out to their churches – with Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End as one of them.

While these ministers and faith leaders undoubtedly moved the hearts of many the church’s policies remain unmoved.

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Historic Action for LGBTQ at UMC’s General Conference

  The General Conference of The United Methodist Church voted 428-405 to accept a proposal put forth by the Council of Bishops which can be read HERE. Matt Berryman, Executive Director of Reconciling Ministries Network released the …

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Out of the Closets and into the Kingdom

As the experience of many gay persons will testify, “coming out” is not a once-and-for-all experience, but a continuing process. So the movement towards the Kingdom, somewhere outside the closet, or the Kingdom’s movement toward the closeted, is one which continues until the final Promise is fulfilled: God’s gift of God’s own future, the Kingdom.

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Looking Back on the Anniversaries of May 17th Through the Years

When you reside at the intersections of multiple identities anniversaries of your civil rights struggles can be both bitter and sweet. And this May 17th was a reminder.

At 12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004, the city of Cambridge was the first to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At 9:15 a.m. the first couple was married. Then Cambridge City Clerk Margaret Drury said to Tanya McCluskey,52, and Marcia Kadish,56, of Malden, Massachusetts, “I now pronounce you married under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Also, on that day was the 50th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court case of “Brown v. Board of Education,” a ruling that upended this country’s “separate but equal” doctrine, adopted in the “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision of 1896.
While joy washed over me that day knowing my partner and I could now follow McCluskey’s and Kadish”s footsteps and be legally married, we could not rejoice over the limited success, huge failures, and ongoing resistance of Brown that allowed a few of us entry into some of the top universities of this country, as it naggingly continues to be challenged as a form of reverse discrimination.

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Wounding God

It is a sacred challenge to administer justice without vengeance. Jesus calls us to go the extra mile beyond retribution (“an eye for an eye”) and love our enemies. But real love holds the beloved accountable.

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The Adventures of a Gay Red-headed Boy in His Search for God

Like the black girl in search of God, this gay red-headed boy’s search has been convoluted and risky. … The gay red-headed boy, in his search for God, now encountered a gay pioneer, who was also, as it turns out, a Hindu scholar.

God is good—and full of surprises.

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A Religious Utopia Turned Nightmare

“Their emigration to Jonestown in Guyana, South American represents another leg of the African Diaspora, but this time black bodies are stolen and killed not by the hands of white slave hunters, but rather by a religious …

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Human Sexuality

Surely, the time has come for local churches and national denominations to take a much more liberal and compassionate view and celebrate all healthy sexual relationships that have been developed between married or unmarried adult couples who are committed to living within loving monogamous relationships? Churches now need to go beyond the pretence of the turning of a blind eye to any long term supportive, loving unmarried co-habiting relationships and openly acknowledge that these are healthy relationships to be celebrated rather than to be condemned.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 9: Connecting with Kindness

When we see God within ourselves and others, being kind is natural.

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Vance Joy – Georgia [Official Video]

Vance Joy’s debut full length album dream your life away was released in September 2014 and produced by Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Johnny Flynn), telling immensely relatable tales of love won and lost; of longing and heavy hearts, the beauty of love and an overwhelming humanness, all set to stirring, emotional indie folk-pop.

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