The Religious Institute announced today that all seminaries affiliated with the United Church of Christ (UCC) have now met a majority of the criteria of a sexually healthy and responsible seminary, making the UCC the first Protestant denomination to achieve this distinction.
“We are proud of our long partnership with the United Church of Christ,” said the Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President of the Religious Institute. “Through their leadership in sexuality education and the welcome and inclusion of LGBT persons, the UCC has a strong track record of advocacy for sexual justice. That all UCC affiliated seminaries are meeting this high standard for sexual health and responsibility underscores their denominational commitment to build on this legacy for future religious leaders and congregants alike.”
Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President of the UCC, noted “I’m proud of our UCC-related seminaries and seminarians, who take these matters seriously, make the connections between religion and sexuality, work to be inclusive communities of justice and peace, and have put in place policies and practices that create safe space and combat stigma, discrimination, sexual abuse and violence. [This accomplishment] bodes well for the future of the church and for the ministries of health and wholeness to which we are called as persons created in the image of an ever-engaged God.”
Thirty diverse U.S. seminaries now meet at least two thirds of the criteria for a sexually healthy and responsible seminary, compared to just ten in 2009. United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and McCormick Theological Seminary are the two most recent additions to the list of Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminaries.
“Today at least thirty seminaries are helping future clergy deal with the realities of sexuality issues in the lives of their congregants and have a demonstrated commitment to the overall sexual health of their institutions. Religious leaders with training in sexuality help their congregants make important connections between sexuality and spirituality and have the skills to respond to the sexuality-related needs of those they serve,” stated Religious Institute Deputy Director Marie Alford-Harkey.
Additional information on this project, including a full list of the institutions designated as Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminaries, is available at religiousinstitute.org/healthyseminaries.