Monday, March 07, 2005

UCC debuts feature-length documentary on transgender minister

Stealing a whole post fromChuck Currie. Hope he doesn't mind.
The United Church of Christ has just produced a documentary that is sure to offer hope in the GLBT community and consternation among some conservatives. United Church News reports:

The intentionally-inclusive United Church of Christ is not only the first mainline Christian denomination to ordain an openly transgender minister, but the 1.3-million-member church has produced a feature-length documentary film to tell the remarkable story of one transgender minister’s journey of faith.

"Call Me Malcolm," co-produced by the UCC and Filmworks, Inc., debuted at the Riverside (Calif.) International Film Festival on Feb. 26 and will have its second premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival, March 14-15. Several events are planned in association with the viewing in Cleveland, where the UCC’s national offices are located.

The 90-minute film tells the story of the Rev. Malcolm E. Himschoot, then a UCC seminary student, who poignantly explores his struggles with faith, love and gender identity.

“‘Call Me Malcolm’ is part of the United Church of Christ’s effort to provide resources for churches and other organizations to explore and nurture God’s extravagant welcome that includes lesbian, gay bisexual and trangender persons,” said the Rev. Michael D. Schuenemeyer, the UCC’s minister for LGBT concerns.

Click here for the full story.

Christians have historically attempted to deny privilege of call to all but males. Even today women are excluded from ordained ministry in some denominations. The UCC – a far from perfect place – is right to always be looking for how we might better understand human sexuality and human potential for service in the name of God. Not all people in the UCC would be comfortable having a transgendered minister, but not all people were comfortable when the UCC’s forebears became the first Protestant denomination to ordain an African American in the United States back in 1785 or the first woman clergy person in 1853. We have a lot of “firsts” in our history that are faithful attempts to answer God’s call. Part of being faithful disciples is challenging societal norms that oppress rather than liberate.

If you want to read more on how difficult it is to be even a woman minister check out this article from the Union Democrat and read the life story of The Rev. Margaret Self, a UCC clergy person.

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