On June 25, 1972, the United Church of Christ made history when William R. Johnson became the first openly gay man ordained to ministry in an historic Christian church. Bill’s ordination, by the Golden Gate Association in the Northern California/Nevada Conference, opened doors for a new generation of openly LGBTQ leaders in our church. Ten years later, on April 25, 1982, Anne Holmes became the first openly lesbian minister ordained in the UCC.
National ONA Sunday this weekend is an opportunity to give thanks in public worship for Bill and Anne, and for all the queer clergy whose gifts have enriched and strengthened the United Church of Christ.
We share this video from Bill, who now lives at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, CA, marking his ordination. We’ll be celebrating Bill and Anne, and the 50th anniversary of the Coalition’s founding in 1972, at our virtual National ONA Gathering Aug. 5-7. We’ll announce keynoters and program next week!”