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Chief Minister of the United Church of Christ congregation talks about gay marriage and same-sex blessings by Peter Menkin Interview

Interview: Chief Minister of the United Church of Christ, a congregation of talks on gay marriage and same-sex blessings

By Peter Menkin

  Senior Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent in Los Altos, California Foothill Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, spoke to this writer by telephone and web camera with Skype in February 2010 on same-sex marriage and same-sex blessings. This is the first in a series of interviews with various members of the clergy on the subject name. Two others are following interviews with the pathway. Rev. Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Church, USA (San Francisco Bay known as the Diocese of California), and Rabbi Stephen Pearce of Temple Emanuel Reform, San Francisco. This writer expects to find two people more willing to talk about their names, so this series of five.

1. This question The second part deals with the mission of the Church: (1) What is the mission of the United Church of Christ and his congregation to proclaim and to standardize the practice of gay marriage and same-sex blessings? (2) Is this a theme of peace and justice, and you comment on the remark made by the Editorial Pilgrim Press, The Rev. Timothy G. Staveteig. I asked a similar question on whether the matter is the mission of the Church UCC and publishers said in an email response:

a. "From our first impression of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fit 's of a man in 1957, The Pilgrim Press has developed books and resources have been addressed difficult and complex social justice issues. Through our publishing operation history (since 1640), which is a gift of the Church United in Christ, The Pilgrim Press has sought voices marginalized by the dominant culture and seeks to build include the communities. "I am responding as a pastor, not as a scholar. No, not our mission. Mission is to be a Christian Church and embody God for all people. It is a matter of justice and peace. It's more a question justice, and we look at those who are marginalized. My church is an upper middle class community in the midst of Silicon Valley. For most people it's not a huge problem for them, a small group that opposes. We like to date as the Pilgrim Church in 1620. Were the separatist movement of the Puritans who sought to purify the church. These were mostly shop owners and traders, part of the emerging middle class in England who wanted to depart from the Church of England. Rev. John Robinson sent to the pilgrims of the New World with the warning, "The Lord even more truth and light to break out of the holy word of God." Churches Presbyterians who seek to be open to the LGBT community call themselves "more light" churches. Collect cite this Robinson. The UCC has tried to be faithful to this search God is "light and truth", and in doing so, we experienced a lot of "first" in American religious life. We were one of the first Church groups opposed to slavery. We were the first to order the first order an African-American pastor, and the first to ordain a woman in the 19 th century. In the 20th century that were the first to ordain an openly gay minister, the Rev. William Johnson in San Carlos, UCC … We have a long tradition of pushing the edges of peace and justice social. I like to say that we are condemned by our principles, continually question: How God continually open to the Church to all people? It is natural for us say: "Should not we be celebrating same-sex marriage?"  

  1. When Are you in the Church Christ united the religious spectrum? Progressive, liberal, conservative? What does this mean for you?

Chief Minister, Reverend Matt Broadbent: I think I'm going somewhere that the Progressive Liberal Party, but my style is traditional. I tease my congregation that I am more conservative than they are. They are trying to keep up, while I keep singing plainchant. I like the tradition.

  1. Where is the Church of San Francisco Bay Area United for Christ is the same-sex blessings and gay marriage? Has been made a national statement on the subject?

Chief Minister Rev. Matt Broadbent: The simple answer is yes. We have formed a national statement. This is not a hierarchical church, so that the national organization made a statement. Is a recommendation to the local churches. It makes the local church. Each local church must decide how to handle the recommendation. On July 4, 2005 in the General Synod 25, the national meeting, which voted in favor of equal marriage rights for all recommendation. Recommendation is my word, and that's what means, to consider support of equal marriage rights for all.

  1. If there is a key vision of the Bible that supports gay marriage and the blessing the same sex, please give a biblical example and explain some of his vision of interpretation? Who else shares this sensibility and understanding can we know or recognized?

Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: My point is, if the question of what Jesus' response to gay marriage or same-sex loving relationships. Nothing. He does not talk about it at all. What has happened in this discussion is that people have collected some statements by Paul, and a few the Old Testament. Everyone has something to do with oppression, not relationships. The scripture that guides me are: 1 John 4, which says simply that God is love. And that Love, Love of God. 1 Corinthians 13 is the passage from Paul's love, holding this relationship of love between people is the highest value. For me the core of the text Gospel is the great commandment in Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is the reaffirmation of Jewish tradition is to love your neighbor and love of God. That is the core of it, that's what Jesus says is the core of the faith. Marriage as such is a social agreement, or that they help us to love God and neighbor, love. And I say people, I'm in the business of encouraging long-term relationships. This is a healthy way in the world. If it's loving relationships between same sex, then that's what I have to do. I would even say that in those passages that our more conservative choice, it's all about when a person is taking advantage of someone else. When talk about men sleeping with men or women with women who are speaking of the temple prostitution. He is talking about relationships that are unequal and unfair essentially. What Jesus asks is always the Justice and Equality in the Kingdom of God.

  1. What book should I read reader that leads to understanding of their positions and statements in support of gay marriage and the blessing of same sex?

Also when people ask me, I will direct a web page, www.UCC.org .

  1. Have you performed a blessing of same sex, and if so, do we say some of the words you used? Where do you do?

Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: I have both Santa Cruz, where he was for 17 years, and here in Los Altos only a couple of months. I wish I could have said I've done more. In Santa Cruz – who was with two women Early in my ministry. I led the church in an open and affirming. We did the wedding in your home, not in the sanctuary. The reason I did was one was an artist and the other was teaching at the university. I asked when asked about making the marriage, "What date were you thinking?" Wedding another took place in Los Altos Foothills Congregational Church UCC. The couple married legally in Vermont. What we did in the church is a blessing for their votes Civil We have the same gender, unbiased wedding ceremony. We worked with the couple and the ceremony was very traditional. They said: "We want to be married, not in a show. "What they wanted to get a sense of God's blessing on your choice, your relationship. We're talking about Los Altos. They went with the blessing because they had been married.

  1. Who are other significant known and respected leaders of the Church clergy of other denominations, primarily in San Francisco Bay, which fits in your view? Do you know his name? Is there someone with whom you have said has influenced you most?

Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: In our own denomination, it's all the leaders of the United Church of Christ in the Bay Area. I know a couple of ministers who have problems with it. I really do not know anyone in our name that has a problem with gay marriage. There is always the Reverend Dr. Mary Susan Gast. She is the conference minister in Northern California – Nevada region.

  1. If there are words that you recommend for a blessing of the same sex, do we say them. Where in the Bible is this support, and if you see this as part of the Social Gospel, please tell us some sense of the Social Gospel, it takes to support this? Do you recommend some readings of the Bible in Gay couples (man and woman, man and woman), and their civil union or relationship, or gay marriage Are there other readings or meditations on the biblical text would you recommend?

Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: In the two I have done, we had the whole Bible open to interpretation. The Santa Cruz, of course not going to use that a woman leaving her family and cling to her husband. But the other couple Los Altossaid [about Paul's statement], we can do the job. One of us will assume the role of the husband. The Bible to them was not a problem. They looked the theme of love and commitment and caring for each other. We look at the argument of the apocryphal books of Tobit's wife is taking a goat. In most the discussions I had with people, most of the package was opened to outlet passages, normal. There has been a great to-do special readings over people gay. Everything is moving into the mainstream. Hey, we have the same needs, desires similar.

  1. At what point in your life, you begin to support the issue of this interview? Has gone from being an ordained UCC minister? Is there anyone specific that I respect disagree with your position?

Minister Principal, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: My father was a minister, and met my mother at the seminar. It was the United Church of Christ. We had always been a part of a liberal and progressive form of worship. I had a problem with gay marriage as a problem, but surpassed intellectually. My father grew up in an era in which did not show much affection. It was something I missed. It was a resentment on my part not told that I wanted. I think it was 50 years old who first told me loved me. I was afraid if he showed too much affection for me and he was afraid his brother would become gay. I have never known a time when we really had a problem with the issue of gay marriage. It is a matter of being in committed relationships, deal. My problem is the same as heterosexual relationships. When is sex only becomes satisfy our own hunger, there is a relationship.

  1. Although we have not talked about Proposition 8 in California, how to characterize the results of the vote said yes to deny gay marriage in the state? Is there a kind of guilt in this position in the moral or spiritual sense?

I think people who have been so opposed Proposition 8, seem to suggest that somehow their marriage will be devalued by the same-sex marriage, my first reaction is how you're insecure. The point is when a relationship based on reciprocity and trust and care of each other, this can only improve our society.

  1. At what point in the faith and the concern of the United Church of Christ (national and his congregation) made the sea change toward gay marriage and the blessing of same sex? Would you tell something about your personal experience of faith and concern by the issue of faith? It was a teaching of Jesus Christ, a meditation on the Bible?

Chief Minister, Rev. Matt Broadbent: It was a turbulent time, when the United Church of Christ decided to include the Rights of the recommendation of marriage, other conferences were pulled Nations United Church of Christ. Puerto Rico withdrew from the UCC, Pennsylvania (Western Pennsylvania) withdrew from the UCC (several associations did this.) I think there were associations Indiana is the same thing. In our area:. Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent My personal experience: When the cam to the Church in Los Altos for 10 years, I asked that this be one of its main challenges? I said: No, but they had to understand that I was a minister open and affirming, and this is the way it should administer the Church. When the laity within the Church, told me and everyone else, we need to move forward and become an open and affirming church, I want there for them. There were people on that committee he thought, that's fine. Probably you can counter, block this if necessary. During the ten years we have practiced this, and in the last three years we have become an open and affirming church. We lost some members, but we won a number of young families. All of them said they wanted to be part of a Church that is present, because they wanted their children educated in this type of church. I asked also going to make a same-sex marriage. I said: Yes, I would. If I were asked. Before I had made that request to the deacon (who is one of the governing body of the Church, who are leaders lay Foothills Congregational Church UCC). I'm pretty sure I would have said yes, but later became an open and affirming Church we have been able to. I went to one of the founders of the church fifty years, did you ever imagine that could have a same-sex wedding Foothills. Never in my wildest dreams. Was not perfect, she said.

  1. He has given you a lecture on the subject, and we can see the text of a key phrase?

Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: I tend not to overcome these things on earth. I'm more of a Bible teacher, but I used the issue as a reflection or an illustration in a sermon. Several times I have used: This is why gay or lesbian or transgender people are so annoying in this issue. Instead of preaching about current social issues, I try to weave our concerns with the biblical texts. I'm trying to create a form in which all We can talk to each other.

  1. What is your sense of community of believers, in part, congregational sense as a dimension of leadership of a congregation? What is your sense of community extended beyond his name in the greater world, and again gives us some instruction Bible perhaps in the Old Testament and its relationship with the New, on the subject of gay marriage and the blessing of same sex?
  1. I guess we've covered the topic, but to reformulate the above question because I think it's important for our theme, and is not necessary to speak directly with the issue in its response to question or above it, what the Church means to you as chief minister? What is your vision, as you might say?

Minister Principal, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: What I think the Church is, is the body of Christ. We are called to embody the spirit of Christ in the world and we are dedicated to the life of Christ within us in the world. All of us are one body, here are all included in the present. My vision of the Church that includes my brothers Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox, all of the Church. What we are called to not identify us as an exclusive club in the world, but to demonstrate the church as the Kingdom of God to the world. It is a very inclusive. How I can be included? How can God be in the world, not only in the Church, but in creation? One of the keywords is the transformation of the word kingdom of Spain. I think that's what Jesus was talking about, we get confused, as if Jesus is all powerful and will judge us. He talks about how all of us in this family are gathered together, Jesus is opening an invitation to be familiar with each other. It's so wide that is beyond the religious. If God is love, then God is love, absolutely.

  1. In my email correspondence with Rev. Michael D. Schuenemeyer discussed a number of issues and possible contemporary issues gay marriage and same-sex blessings. I asked if San Francisco and California is leading the Church's missionary activity in this area, and if as a secular society is at the forefront. Do you agree with your answer and will comment on his remarks? He said and asked:
    1. What area is a leader in the receptivity of matter, is San Francisco?


    1. In the UCC, this effort is not unique to California and what is difficult to say that the vanguard of this movement in our denomination. There churches, pastors and lay people involved in both civil and religious in many parts of the country, particularly in states which have achieved marriage equality, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa congregations tend to be more involved are those who have carried out an educational process called open and Affirming process. This process often leads a local church to declare publicly their acceptance and integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of all life and ministry of the church.
    1. There has also been strong commitment on equality in marriage has not yet been realized either in the ballot or in the courts, or where states have passed laws against gay marriage. UCC leaders, clergy and laity, have ensured that their religion is progressive hearing and supported the organizing efforts that have succeeded in building a movement that, despite of recent setbacks will ultimately succeed.
    1. Energy tends to be higher in areas with high levels of legislative vote, or legal activity. This fall, Maine will be very active and there are many churches and leaders of the UCC involved in the effort to defeat his bill to repeal marriage equality there. There is much activity in Iowa in an effort to protect the decision court. California also will remain a place of business with efforts to overturn Proposition 8 as in 2010 or 2012

This is a personal reaction by Senior Minister, Reverend Matt Broadbent: He [the Rev. Michael] are cited states that do not believe that open marriage the same sex. I grew up in New Hampshire. I came to California in the winter of 1979, I have experienced in California and around the world generally liberal in their social behavior. However, the religious atmosphere was quite conservative in nature, especially in the valley and other areas. People were socially conservative in New Hampshire and liberal religion in general. As a general type of environment. So I can understand why the New England states according to same-sex marriages. I know that his expectation was that they would act in an appropriate manner. In California people do not always act in a proper way, but much more religiously closed. It seems a strange paradox. Not surprisingly, in California defeated the idea of same-sex marriage. Although California is seen as a kind of life left coast. One of the paradoxes of life. For me personally, I work hard, and fought with the idea of separation of church and state. Especially in the Anglo American churches. We are not as defined as Black churches really involved and take a stand. They are socially liberal, conservative, but really a lot. What I try to do in the UCC is trying to preach values, stay with the understanding of fundamental values of the Gospel, then encourage the actions of people in the community. I personally try to lead. For example, when it became an open to all, and affirming the Church, I knew where I was.

  1. More in my e-mail conversation with the Rev. Michael, I made this next question and answer. Want to comment on the service of blessing which we see and tell us if you use it or know others in the area that uses it?
    1. Do you have a standardized service or both, and I can see the text?
    2. Yes It is a neutral version gender of the Order of marriage in our book of worship.
    3. Link: ~


      i. The Rev. Michael D. Schuenemeyer is Executive Health and Wholeness Advocacy of the Great Church Ministries Chief Minister Rev. Matt Broadbent: This format is the template class it operates. And we are free to change and adjust as we want. We are less than the Church … to independent thinking, and decisions are taken by their own congregations.

  1. Thank you for this interview via email with questions and answers. Is there anything else you want to add or say?

Chief Minister, the Rev. Matt Broadbent: Not at this time. I think I'll talk.

Addendum: The Editorial Pilgrim Press (United Church of Christ) recommends the following titles of books on gay marriage:

Himself Sex Marriage: Extending the right to marry same-sex couples is front page news, and much disputed in the church and society. This book, written by critic is a gay man and progressive Christian ethicist who places justice-making in the heart of contemporary spirituality. In dialogue with the lawyers and theologians, the author examines the strengths and weaknesses of how marriage traditionalists, advocates of marriage between same sex and LGBT (lesbian / bisexual / gay / transgender) critics of marriage analyze the issues and frame their arguments. This book offers constructive proposals for revitalizing Christian sexual ethics and advance the debate, regardless of whether the right to marry is won or lost.

Exile or Embrace: This book is a helpful guide for pastors and congregations to ask questions such as:
How can we be as a congregation in partnership with our members gay?
How we respond to homosexuals outside the church? The first part tells the story of struggle and growth Siler congregation as weighted the possibility of being openly gay and lesbian Christians reception.
The second part helps the leaders of the congregation to discern how and when to participate in this conversation congregation.
The third part is a study guide outlining seven sessions to shape the conversation and congregational discernment.

God goes:
"Readers will welcome this book not only for his wisdom and compassion, but also for their practical suggestions about how to start a conversation about the release of sex differences. Pastors in particular will get an insight into how preaching the gospel includes all communities can get our most loyal in a year of the reign of God. Hinnant proves time and again how the preaching is about above all a theological act, they bear witness to justice and compassion of God. "~ Thomas H. Troeger, Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music.

Image: (1) Portrait Rev. Matt Broadbent.

About the Author

Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco). My blog: http://www.petermenkin.blogspot.com

Reese Schonfeld – Air date: 06-16-03

One Comment

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