Here are details for the initial author appearances to follow the release of Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism, which will finally occur in the next couple of days.
Tuesday evening, February 11, 7:00 pm, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Avenue S, St Paul, Minnesota
Gloria Dei is the largest church of the St. Paul Area Synod and a Reconciling in Christ congregation. Senior Pastor Bradley Schmeling is an out-gay man who was defrocked following a 2007 ecclesiastical trial in Georgia, where he served an Atlanta congregation. His trial was a significant factor in later ELCA policy revisions. Pastor Bradley and his partner, Pastor Darin Easler, were the first clergy to be reinstated to the ELCA roster following the 2009 revisions to ministry policies, and his call as senior pastor to Gloria Dei, a “high steeple” flagship congregation of the Synod, marked a first.
Saturday morning, February 15, 10:00 am, Bethel Lutheran Church, 1321 North Avenue, Northfield, MN
Bethel Lutheran was our congregation and Northfield was our home for three years. Northfield is a delightful college community, and I was privileged to participate in and speak at numerous community, congregational, and St. Olaf College events. This will be a homecoming.
Friday evening, February 21, 6:00 PM, Augustana Lutheran Hyde Park, 5500 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago
Augustana Hyde Park is a Reconciling in Christ congregation that serves the Hyde Park neighborhood on the near Southside of Chicago. Augustana also hosts Lutheran Campus Ministries for several colleges, including the University of Chicago, and is located just a block or two away from the Lutheran School of Theology and McCormick Theological Seminary.
Saturday evening, February 22, 5:00-7:00 PM, wine and cheese with the author (public welcome), hosted by Mark Bowman, Director LGBT Religious Archive Network, 5352 N. Kenmore Avenue, #3, Chicago
Mark Bowman is one of the iconic, prophetic figures featured in the book. He was a founder of the Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network and served as its director for many years. As part of his duties, he was editor of the award-winning Open Hands Magazine. More recently, he has been project coordinator for the LGBT Religious Archives Network. He will host a wine and cheese party on Chicago’s Northside, and the public is welcome.
Sunday morning, February 23, 9:00 AM, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 1234 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights
I was a member of this Reconciling in Christ congregation during my 2011-12 sojourn in greater Chicago. Our Saviour’s has been especially intentional in its LGBT welcome. Senior pastor Dan Hoeger was called in part because he was a willing straight ally, and the congregation voted overwhelmingly in 2011 that they would host same-gender weddings, two years before marriage equality came to Illinois. It will be good to see old friends.
Sunday afternoon, February 23, 3:00 PM, Congregational UCC (St. John UCC & First United Methodist co-sponsors), 1001 W Kirchhoff Rd, Arlington Heights
Two UCC Open and Affirming congregations, also members of the Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, and a Methodist Reconciling Ministries congregation will co-sponsor my appearance. St. John UCC was within walking distance of my Arlington Heights home, and Pastor Jeffrey Phillips became a friend and helped with UCC research contacts. I met Congregational UCC pastor Rex Piercy at the 2012 gathering of the UCC Coalition at nearby Elmhurst College, and his church will host this Sunday afternoon event. First United Methodist of Arlington Heights was served by head pastor Bonnie Beckonchrist at that time, but Pastor Bonnie has since retired but continues as Chair of the RMN board of directors.