I have been and will continue to be a cheerleader for my beloved ELCA, and I will defend with pride her courageous decision last summer to include our LGBT brothers and sisters in ordained ministry and to offer blessing of their relationships. I have also blogged extensively about the parallel Episcopal efforts to include “all the baptized in all the sacraments.” But, there is one denomination that we sometimes overlook and take for granted; the United Church of Christ (UCC) was the original pioneer in recognizing gay clergy over a generation ago. I have friends in my local UCC congregation, and their attitude towards the new ELCA policy is “what took you so long.”
With a hat tip to the blog Straight not Narrow—Presenting Jesus beyond the Walls, I offer the following YouTube video that remembers the ordination of William (Bill) R. Johnson, the first openly gay person to be ordained to the Christian ministry … on June 25, 1972. The whole movie takes about twenty minutes and is broken into two parts for YouTube. They’re worth the time.