In 1972, the United Church of Christ took a huge step that changed everything for many people. The Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ celebrated the ordination of William Johnson to the Christian ministry as the first openly gay person to be ordained. This sparked a social change in religious communities that has rippled throughout the world. The UCC has always been a leader in this area and the NCNC has been the leading conference in the UCC where acceptance of gay and lesbian people as full members and as clergy has taken place. St. John’s had a role in this, too (all be it a minor role): the Ecclesiastical Council of the Golden Gate Association that affirmed Bill for ordination met at St. John’s UCC, San Francisco. Members who remember those days recall the tension, the recognition of the historic nature of the decision facing the church, but most importantly, they remember the joy of doing the right thing!
The intervening years have seen the UCC lead the way and have seen tremendous turmoil in the worldwide Christian church as people hide behind and confront old ideas about God’s love for all humankind. Now, there’s going to be a party! Those involved in this event in 1972 are gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bill Johnson’s ordination. It is going to be a glorious event! Please visit
Call, Courage and Conviction: Celebrating 40+ Years of LGBT Witness
for detailed information on the schedule and the history of the original event. Join the party, join the people of God celebrating the historic witness and justice movement that flowers in the United Church of Christ!! The dates: June 16 and 17, 2012 The places: Pacific School of Religion and the Community UCC of San Carlos (the church that ordained Bill). The website has details of each event in this weekend of commemoration.