10/13/19 – Celebrate the past; Commit to the Future.

Posted on : Oct 8th, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday we welcome the Rev. Dr. Joe McGowan as our guest minister.  Joe is a long-time friend of our congregation.  He, like us, began his calling to ministry in the Presbyterian Church.  He was “outed” and was forced to give up his ordination in the Presbyterian Church.  Thankfully, the United Church of Christ saw Joe’s gifts – and graciously welcomed him back into ministry.  Joe became the pastor of Altadena Community Church, United Church of Christ.  He just retired in June.

One of Joe’s callings in ministry was to be the coordinator of our “Open and Affirming” (ONA) ministries.  Open and Affirming ministries are congregations and other settings of ministry who both welcome and celebrate the lives and gifts of LGBT persons.  Under Joe’s phenomenal leadership, 45% of the churches in our Southern California Nevada Conference are Open and Affirming!

Joe is also a dear friend of the Rev. Dr. Bill Johnson.  Bill was the first out gay or lesbian person to be ordained in all of Christianity!   I have tried for years to get Bill to West Hollywood Church to share with us his story and the history of the LGBT movement for spiritual inclusion, but we’ve not been able to do that.  Upon Joe’s retirement I asked Joe if he would come and share that history.  Gratefully, Joe has accepted.

Joe served as my mentor/guide in coming into the UCC and Altadena Church was our sponsoring congregation as we discerned and entered the UCC.

You are in for a wonderful Sunday!  Joe has the history that none of us has and we are delighted that he has agreed to come and share that with us!



Philippians 1:3-11

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.  It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 

For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.  And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God

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