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LGBTIQ Friendly Santa Cruz Area Faith Groups

In 2007, Out In Our Faith in collaboration with The Diversity Center, surveyed the Santa Cruz County faith community to identify  open, welcoming, and affirming congregations. We've listed these congrations below, along with their answers to the survey questions. 

We hope this resource will help you find a faith community where you can feel at home.

Affirmative Responses in Alphabetical Order by Faith Group

1. Do you currently have openly LGBTIQ persons in your faith group?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist
  2. Calvary Episcopal
  3. Center for Conscious Living
  4. Community Seed
  5. Dance Church
  6. First Congregationalist/UCC
  7. Holy Cross Catholic
  8. Inner Light Ministries
  9. Jewish Renewal
  10. La Selva Beach Community Church/UCC
  11. Newman Catholic Community
  12. Resurrection Catholic Community
  13. The Sacred Grove
  14. San Agustin Catholic
  15. Temple Beth El
  16. St. Andrew Presbyterian
  17. St. John the Baptist Episcopal
  18. St. Stephens Lutheran
  19. Trinity Presbyterian
  20. Unitarian Universalist
  21. Zen Center of Santa Cruz
2. Do you currently welcome and affirm LGBTIQ persons and/or their family members?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist
  2. Calvary Episcopal
  3. Center for Conscious Living
  4. Community Seed
  5. Dance Church
  6. First Congregationalist/UCC
  7. Holy Cross Catholic
  8. Inner Light Ministries
  9. Jewish Renewal
  10. La Selva Beach Community Church/UCC
  11. Mt. Calvary Lutheran
  12. Newman Catholic Community
  13. Resurrection Catholic Community
  14. The Sacred Grove
  15. San Agustin Catholic
  16. St. Andrew Presbyterian
  17. St. John the Baptist Episcopal
  18. St. Stephens Lutheran
  19. Temple Beth El
  20. Trinity Presbyterian
  21. Unitarian Universalist
  22. Zen Center of Santa Cruz

YES, BUT...

  1. Santa Cruz Community Church/American Baptist: Welcomes all, but does not affirm all behaviors or lifestyle choices.
3. Do you feel that you try to use LGBTIQ-inclusive language and images whenever possible? If so, how?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist: Prayers for varieties of persons & sermon illustrations.
  2. Center for Conscious Living: From the pulpit re: same sex relationships and union ceremonies, Gay Pride, and diversity.
  3. Dance Church: DJ's music selections must be respectful to all.
  4. First Congregationalist/UCC: Two ministers are out lesbians who refer to their own lives in liturgy and worship.
  5. Holy Cross Catholic: In mass sermons, we'll say "spouses and partners" and make references to GLBT inclusion.
  6. Inner Light Ministries: Our senior pastor lives in a committed lesbian relationship. Based on inclusivity, everything about our ministry is open and affirming.
  7. Jewish Renewal: We explore gender-balanced, neutral "God language," and we have 2 out queer rabbis.
  8. La Selva Beach Community Church/UCC: We are gender inclusive in speaking about relationships and about God, and in referring to "partners" as well as "spouses, husbands, wives."
  9. Newman Catholic Community
  10. Resurrection Catholic Community
  11. The Sacred Grove: Our religion has replaced old terms with acceptable ones.
  12. San Agustin: We just try to include, accept everyone. Mass rarely changes.
  13. St Andrew's Presbyterian: All are welcome.
  14. St. John the Baptist Episcopal
  15. St. Stephens Lutheran: Preaching, choice of songs and language for the service.
  16. Temple Beth El: Membership forms updated to read "partner" instead of "married."
  17. Trinity Presbyterian: Use gender neutral pronouns or limited use of "Father" for God.
  18. Unitarian Universalist: Lay leaders say "partner" instead of "wife/husband."
  19. Zen Center of SC: We use terms like "partner," "significant other," or "spouse."

YES, BUT...

  1. Calvary Episcopal: We do have a gender inclusive invitation to communion, but we could do better.
4. Do you feel that your group's social activities are inclusive of LGBTIQ persons and/or their families? If so, how?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist: Church focus is quite progressive, non-judgmental.
  2. Boulder Creek United Methodist
  3. Calvary Episcopal
  4. Center for Conscious Living
  5. Community Seed
  6. Dance Church: Few outside activities.
  7. First Congregationalist/UCC
  8. Holy Cross Catholic: Welcomes and involves all.
  9. Inner Light Ministries: All programs, classes and workshops are open and affirming.
  10. Jewish Renewal: With 2 out queer rabbis, all our activities are "mixed," many lesbian families, and all the spectrum of the rainbow.
  11. La Selva Beach Community/UCC
  12. Mt. Calvary Lutheran: Pastor coaches women's softball team, which is 90% lesbian.
  13. Newman Catholic Community
  14. Resurrection Catholic Community
  15. The Sacred Grove
  16. San Agustin Catholic: Families know they are welcome, we want them & include them.
  17. Santa Cruz Community Church/American Baptist
  18. Temple Beth El
  19. St. Andrew Presbyterian
  20. St. John the Baptist Episcopal
  21. St. Michael's Catholic
  22. St. Stephens Lutheran
  23. Trinity Presbyterian: Same sex partners and families are welcome at all gatherings.
  24. Unitarian Universalist: LGBTIQ people are welcome at all fellowship activities.
  25. Zen Center of SC: Family events include gay households.
5. Do you offer classes that offer scholarly insights into difficult passage concerning guidelines for human sexual behavior? Please list applicable topics.

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist: We have in the past and could again.
  2. Calvary Episcopal: We have in the past, but the need a not been acute in this parish, since 95% of the parish does not have a problem with difficult passages.
  3. First Congregationalist: UCC has curriculum called "Created in God's Image" and " Our Whole Lives" and "Claiming the Promise" that speak to a loving God who made us good sexual creatures.
  4. Holy Cross Catholic: Classes in conscience formation and social responsibility-church and society to include all.
  5. Inner Light Ministries: We are pioneers of possibility, daring to live in oneness.
  6. Jewish Renewal. Occasionally: For example, a recent series on ‘Intimacy & Spirit" included discussion of understanding the topic from a gay perspective.
  7. La Selva Beach Community Church: We have in the past, and have materials on hand.
  8. Mt. Calvary Lutheran: Passages have been discussed in classes.
  9. Newman Catholic Community: Occasionally and recently did a presentation with Hillel on passages from the Bible.
  10. Resurrection Catholic Community: The topics have come up.
  11. The Sacred Grove: We tear the Bible's linguistics apart. Our gospel has a passage where heterosexuality is described as unbalanced and more.
  12. San Agustin: Gays and lesbians, etc. are welcome to partake in Sacrament preparatory classes.
  13. St. Andrew Presbyterian: Bible study for adults & discussion groups. 
  14. St. John the Baptist Episcopal: Yes, Integrity & small morning groups. 
  15. St. Stephens Lutheran: No classes, but I have been very outspoken about how they need to be interpreted. 
  16. Temple Beth El: This June 1, we are having a transgender rabbinical student speak.
  17. Trinity Presbyterian: We hosted the Diversity Center's program "Gender Bias and the Bible" by speaker who is a transgender pastor. I regularly preach on topics as they come up.

YES, BUT...

  1. Santa Cruz Community Church/American Baptist: Education is based on sound orthodox scholarship.
6. Do you offer educational programs dealing positively with LGBTIQ diversity? If so, how?

YES!

  1. Center for Conscious Living: There are plans to do so.
  2. Calvary Episcopal: Again, I think that is would be a good idea, but the issue has not been contentious.
  3. First Congregationalist: We offer "Created in God's Image," "Our Whole Lives" and "Claiming the Promise" that speak to a loving God who made us good sexual creatures. 
  4. Holy Cross Catholic: We have speakers at our LGBT meetings.
  5. Inner Light Ministries: Our ministry is based on inclusivity.
  6. Jewish Renewal: Same answer as above. 
  7.  La Selva Beach Community Church/UCC: Forums and discussions in the past, not currently. 
  8. New Catholic Community: Occasionally.
  9. Resurrection Catholic Community: Points in homilies. 
  10. The Sacred Grove: We teach that sexuality is personal and sacred, not to be judged unless harm is caused. 
  11. San Agustin Catholic: Gays & lesbians, etc. are welcome to partake in Sacrament preparatory classes. 
  12. St. Andrew Presbyterian: Occasionally.
  13. St. John the Baptist Episcopal:
  14. St Stephens Lutheran: Our denomination undergoes programs re: human sexuality to help welcome and affirm everyone. 
  15. Temple Beth El: Through ‘Out In Our Faith" we offer seminars on anti-bias education. 
  16. Trinity Presbyterian: All programs, preaching deal positively with LGBTIQ diversity. 
  17. Unitarian Universalist: Our curriculum is LGBTIQ-affirming--"Our Whole Lives" comes in several age-appropriate versions.
7. Do you currently offer same-sex commitment ceremonies?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist: I am not officially allowed to, but I likely would if asked. After 18 years in the Ministry, I have yet to be asked.
  2. Center for Conscious Living
  3. Community Seed: If a same-gender couple asked for a "hand fasting" we would schedule it. 
  4. First Congregationalist/UCC
  5. The Sacred Grove: Yes, I think pagans did it first.
  6. Inner Light Ministries: Our senior pastor is in a committed lesbian relationship.
  7. Jewish Renewal
  8. San Agustin Catholic: Only Catholic Mass marriages, but to receive a blessing from the pastor, any gay or lesbian couple could meet with the pastor and request that from him. 
  9. St. John the Baptist Episcopal: If a parish member in good standing &completing rector's counseling. 
  10. St. Stephens Lutheran: I haven't yet, but I haven't been asked. I would if asked. 
  11. Temple Beth El
  12. Trinity Presbyterian: I would if I were asked. 
  13. Unitarian Universalist: For members of the Unitarian Fellowship-the next minister may choose to officiate at such services for non-members. 
  14. Zen Center of SC

 

NO, BUT...

  1. Calvary Episcopal: No, but I am willing to be proactive in this regard, but have not been asked.
8. Does your faith group's rule allow same sex marriage, if permitted under civil law?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist: If it were allowed under civil law, yes.
  2. Calvary Episcopal
  3. Community Seed
  4. First Congregationalist/UCC
  5. Inner Light Ministries: As an independent ministry, we don't belong to a particular denomination.
  6. Jewish Renewal
  7. La Selva Beach Community/UCC
  8. The Sacred Grove: Even if not permitted we do not recognize government's right to interfere with such things. 
  9. Temple Beth El
  10. Unitarian Universalist 
  11. Zen Center of SC

 

NO, BUT...

  1. Trinity Presbyterian: We actively participate in our denominations efforts to change it.
9. Does your faith group's rule allow ordination of LGBTIQ persons?

YES!

  1. Calvary Episcopal
  2. Center for Conscious Living
  3. Community Seed: If a person became a priest or priestess it would be on their own merit. 
  4. First Congregationalist/UCC: A lesbian is completing this questionnaire. 
  5. Inner Light Ministries: Our senior pastor is a lesbian.
  6. Jewish Renewal 
  7. La Selva Beach Community Church/UCC
  8. The Sacred Grove 
  9. St. John the Baptist Episcopal 
  10. Temple Beth El
  11. Unitarian Universalist
  12. Zen Center of SC

 

YES, BUT...

  1. Holy Cross Catholic: Yes, if celibate, as for all Catholic priests-no, if sexually active, which is the same for heterosexual priests.
  2. Mt. Calvary Lutheran: The national church allows for non-practicing gays to be ordained.
  3. Newman Catholic Community: Not openly, but has a sort of ‘don't ask, don't tell.'
  4. Santa Cruz Community Church/American Baptist: Ordination of LGBTIQ persons may occur in some regions and some congregations, but this region does not ordain LGBTIQ persons.

NO, BUT...

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist: Not currently, but the fight continues.
  2. Trinity Presbyterian: No, but we do anyway.
10. Do you have any interest in belonging to a county coalition of welcoming churches?

YES!

  1. Aptos Community United Methodist
  2. Calvary Episcopal
  3. Center for Conscious Living
  4. Community Seed
  5. Dance Church
  6. First Congregationalist/UCC 
  7.  Holy Cross Catholic: Longest tradition of being a welcoming church in Santa Cruz, as the LGBT ministry was begun in 1991.
  8. Jewish Renewal
  9. La Selva Beach Community Church/UCC
  10. Mt. Calvary Lutheran
  11. Newman Catholic Community
  12. Resurrection Catholic Community
  13. The Sacred Grove
  14. St. Michael's Catholic
  15. St. Stephen Lutheran
  16. Temple Beth El
  17. Trinity Presbyterian
  18. Unitarian Universalist
  19. Zen Center of Santa Cruz

NOT SURE YET...

  1. Inner Light Ministries: Our senior pastor has been a social activist all of her adult life and she is committed to leading a ministry that embodies inclusivity.

Note from the Spiritual Subcommittee May, 2007: In March, 2007 about 50 questionnaires were mailed to spiritual leaders of diverse faith groups in Santa Cruz County. The purpose is to serve members of the GLBTIQ community who would like to find a faith group where they might feel both welcomed and affirmed. The questionnaire asked for specific practices regarding GLBTIQ people. As of May 25, 2007, twenty (20) questionnaires had been completed and returned to The Diversity Center. The results were compiled. Our "Spiritual Resource Guide--The Complete Version" is now available with verbatim answers at the Diversity Center Front Desk as a reference for all interested community members looking for a house of worship. This hand out is an abbreviated three-page version.

Committee Update 10/31/07: As of this date, twenty-five (25) congregations had completed questionnaires on file at The Diversity Center.-Kathy Manus/John Smith
For additional information, contact the Diversity Center: 831-425-5422 or P.O. Box 8280, Santa Cruz, CA 95061