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Monday profile: The Rev. Laura Rose

Submitted by on 1, September 15, 2008 – 11:45 amNo Comment

Welcome to our brand-new occasional feature, the Monday Profile, where we introduce you to some of the interesting folks who inhabit this Island. We’re just getting this one off the ground, so if you know someone who you think we should profile, e-mail us at islandblog@gmail.com.

For this week’s feature we spoke with The Rev. Laura Rose, pastor of First Congregational Church. The Rev. Rose, 46, a New York native, has been with the church for five years. She just married her partner of 10 years, Tina, and began performing same-sex marriages at her church this summer. And she says she’s the only solo female church leader on the Island. Incidentally, she’s just a darned nice person. Here are her answers to some of our questions.

You said you got married at San Francisco City Hall when same-sex marriages were first being performed there. What was that like?
It was probably one of the most spiritual experiences I ever had. And here I am, a minister doing weddings for everybody else. Every single worker there volunteered their time, and then there were the people coming with the Starbucks and the doughnuts and the flowers, it was just unbelievable. It was a very sacred experience.

Have you performed any same-sex ceremonies yet?
We had one same-gender marriage here a week ago. I did one at Rhythmix Cultural Works for a couple who had visited (the church) – one of the partners had visited, remembered me and called me up. That was wonderful. I have one coming up in October that I’m supposed to start planning, one (of the celebrants) is a member of our church.

How is this all addressed in the Bible?
If we’re going to talk about values in the Bible, there are over 2,000 references to issues of poverty and injustice. There’s nothing in the Bible about committed same gender relationships. If we took everything literally in the Bible, I’ve said it a million times already, people were condemned because they wore different kinds of fabric. People would be getting stoned for adultery, one of the biggest family values in the Bible.

You say your church is “open and affirming.” What does that mean?
Open and affirming simply means we’re open to gays and lesbians. We’re affirming “Hey, we’re glad you’re here.” The United Church of Christ was the first to ordain an openly gay man, in the 1970s. We were the first to be affirming to gay people. We were on the front lines of that. Our church was the 15th in the U.S. to be open and affirming. And we’ve gotten just as many heterosexual couples that want to be in diverse communities as homosexua

Do you have anything to add?
This whole thing about marriage equality is part of a much larger understanding of Jesus being about – the only thing Jesus was extreme about was love. We really stand by that, we are trying to be as welcoming as Jesus was, in all ways. Not just about marriage. That’s just one issue among many. The whole context of Jesus is always moving toward the person in need, the person shut out. That’s what we really believe Christianity is all about.

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