Sharon Love recently joined First Church and is exceptionally well-versed in these issues, both personally and organizationally. Sharon has given many talks at local churches, ONA Convocations, and community education classes. She is a member and past president of the St. Louis Gender Foundation, and a member of Gateway ONA.
ONA stands for “Open and Affirming,” which is a designation given to churches and other United Church of Christ settings that have studied and decided together to invite and welcome all people, regardless of their sexual preference or identity. Gateway ONA is a leadership council made up of members of ONA churches.
Sharon also is a lay member of the St. Louis Association (UCC) Committee on Ministry: Preparation, the organization in our local Association charged with fostering toward ordination people who have discerned a call to ministry.
Sharon describes the presentation to be given in the August 25 Adult Education session as follows:
“I will share portions of my life as a transgender person, including talking about growing from childhood to adulthood and traveling from one denomination to another until I found a home in the UCC church. We will discuss the different terms in the transgender community; the UCC National Bodies’ Social Policy Statement of 2003 regarding transgender participation and ministry in UCC; facts regarding transgender demographics in the U.S., and selected scriptures that relate to transgender issues. During Q&A, we will consider ways to welcome transgender individuals into one’s church as members or visitors and the acceptance of trans people to be committee members, clergy, and Sunday school teachers. I was a Sunday school teacher at St. Luke UCC on Tennessee Ave in South St. Louis. Sadly, the church closed about 2011.
“I promise you this session will be an eye-opening experience for some and an education for us all.”
- One relevant scripture: As written in Mark 9:2-9, Jesus was “transformed” from an everyday man into the Son of God. I believe God gives us all talents and gifts. Sometimes to put those talents or gifts to work, we must “transform” ourselves or be “transformed” as Jesus was.