Open and Affirming Coalition, United Church of Christ. Collection, 1969-2015

Collection Information

Open and Affirming Coalition United Church of Christ's collection, 1969-2015.


Open and Affirming Coalition United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
United Church Coalition for Lesbian/Gay Concerns
Gay Caucus




7 record cartons, 1 document case, 1 shoebox (8.3 cubic feet)

Collection ID #:


Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is unrestricted and open to the public.

Technical Access:

CDs and DVDs require an optical disk drive to view files; VHS video tapes require a VCR to view.

Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Open and Affirming Coalition, United Church of Christ collection, RG4924. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Processed by Jessica Steytler, July 2015, using DACS Second Edition.


This organization, originally called The Gay Caucus when it was founded in 1972, was created to advocate for the inclusion of gays and lesbians into the life of the United Church of Christ. Types of material include council minutes; correspondence to and from leadership (national coordinator and some chapter representatives); events; subject files and resources; regional chapters; public relations; publications; and news articles related to Coalition interests.

Acquisition Information:

Collection materials arrived in several installments from several creators and were given as gifts to the Congregational Library & Archives.


There have been several accruals since the original deposit in 2009 and further accruals are expected periodically.


Historical Note

The Gay Caucus was founded in 1972 by Reverend William Johnson, the first openly gay minister ordained in the United Church of Christ, Nancy Krody and others to advocate for the inclusion of gays and lesbians into the life of the United Church of Christ. The Caucus evolved into the Coalition for Lesbian/Gay Concerns. The Coalition made its first appearance at the 1973 General Synod in St. Louis, MO with an objective of making sure that when discussions about gays and lesbians took place that gays and lesbians were included. In 1997, the Coalition changed its name to the United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.

In 1981, annual National Gatherings started taking place as a way to provide personal support to gays and lesbians, their families and friends.

In 1985, General Synod passed a Resolution urging local congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming. The Coalition took on the responsibility of implementing this resolution. The ONA program included resources and personal guidance to any UCC church willing to go through a discussion process with the goal of adopting a statement that welcomed gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender people into their congregations. By 2012, the 1,000th UCC congregation declared itself as ONA. In 2015, the Coalition changed its name to Open and Affirming Collation of the United Church of Christ.


Scope of Collection

Types of material include council minutes; correspondence to and from leadership (national coordinator and some chapter representatives); events; subject files and resources; regional chapters; public relations; publications; and news articles related to Coalition interests.

Due to the nature of the donations and record-keeping by individuals, there are unpredictable focal points and gaps in the records. The nature of the Coalition was very de-centralized for the first decades of its existence. It evolved to have an office in the late 1990s and is now incorporated into the United Church of Christ headquarters. Leadership was responsible for maintaining their own records until that office was created, and only a few people have shared their files with this central archive project. When material has come in, if a clear creator or collector was present, it's noted on the folder. This sometimes informs organizational choices. This can result in multiple folders per topic when multiple contributors hand similar content.  Contributors to this collection include:

  • Administrative office (Mitzi Eiltz)
  • Susan B. Echo
  • Jan Griesinger       
  • Richard Taylor
  • Marnie Warner (and rose ann olmstead)


Further Searches

Subject Headings

Open and Affirming Coalition United Church of Christ

United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns

United Church of Christ. Gay Caucus

United Church Coalition for Gay Concerns

Wood, Robert Watson

Griesinger, Jan

Eiltz, Mitzi

Logan, Jeff

Johnson, William Reagan, 1946-

Taylor, Richard H. (Richard Henry), 1943-

Essays on homosexuality


Gay liberation movement - Religious aspects

Homosexuality - History - 20th century

Homosexuality - Religious aspects - Christianity

Homosexuality - Childhood and youth

Gays - Religious Life

Gay Clergy - United States

Lesbian clergy

AIDS (Disease) - Religious aspects

Church work with gays - United States

Same-sex marriage




Gay adoption

Hate crimes

Suicide - Prevention - Childhood and youth


Related Materials

Robert Wood papers (MS4704)

Raymond H. Bradley, Jr.'s collection on marriage equality in Rhode Island (MS5066)

Waves. The national newsletter of the United Church Coalition for Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender Concerns

Coalition News. United Church Coalition for LGBT Concerns, Rocky Mountain Chapter.


Items Removed From the Collection

Waves. The national newsletter of the United Church Coalition for Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender Concerns



Series I: Administrative, National
Series II: Events
Series III: Correspondence
Series IV: Regional Chapters
Series V: Subject Files and Resources
Series VI: Allied Groups
Series VII: PR and Publications



Series I: Administrative, National

Date: 1969-2007
Extent: 1 box
Scope of Series: Includes material created by the organization at the executive or administrative level; also includes denominational material; correspondence; finance and budget; membership. Due to the nature of the donations and record-keeping by individuals, there are unpredictable focal points and gaps in the records.
Arrangement: Arranged into loose categories.
      Date Box/Folder
By-laws, polity 1984-1997, undated B1/F1
Early records 1969-1970s B1/F2
History of the organization 1972-1979, 1984 B1/F3
Histories – Coalition/Open and Affirming 1981-2014 B1/F42
Annual reports and updates 1994, 2003-2008 (gaps) B1/F4
Council records 1979-1988 B1/F5
Council records 1985-1992 B1/F6
Council records 1987-1989 B1/F7
Council records 1989-1992 B1/F8
Council records 1992-1993 B1/F9
Council records 1993-1994 B1/F10
Council records 1995-1997 B1/F11
Resolutions 1970s-1980s B1/F12
Resolutions 1985-1999 B1/F13
Official statements, press releases 1980s B1/F14
Press releases 1987-1988 B1/F15
Reports, surveys: Ask the churches about faith and sexuality 1986 B1/F16
Strategic planning 1993-1994, 2000-2002 B1/F17
Visioning, survey feedback 2003-2005 B1/F18
Ohio UCC Conference – records, correspondence 1979-1989 B1/F19
UCC Pension Policy: Domestic Partner Benefits 1991-1997 B1/F20
Budget and finances 1982-1997 B1/F21
Budget and finances 1984-1989 B1/F22
Fund Raising, grants 1986-1988 B1/F23
Fundraiser letters 1980s-1990s B1/F24
Homeland Ministries financial support 1997-1998 B1/F25
Nomination Committee undated B1/F26
Demographic survey 1998 B1/F27
Coalition membership, Open and Affirming contacts 1998-1999 B1/F28
Membership renewal 1998 B1/F29
Membership renewal 1999 B1/F30
Membership renewal 2000 B1/F31
Membership directory 2001-2002 B1/F32


Address to Executive Council by Rev. William Johnson

A Pastor Struggles with A Christian Response to Homosexuality

Suggested Priorities for the Board during Retreat


October 30, 1973

October 1990







Series II: Events

Date: 1981-2015
Extent: 2 boxes
Scope of Series: The Coalition's annual meeting is called the National Gathering. Records generated from that event, from the UCC's annual meeting (General Synod), as well as smaller activities, symposiums; lectures; copies of speeches made at events. There has been a great deal of effort to organize and provide leadership training for regional organizers. The records of those activities are also in this series.
Arrangement: The Coalition's annual meetings called National Gathering is listed first in chronological order, followed by all other activities listed in chronological order. The final section is for training and leadership activities listed in chronological order.
  Date Box/Folder
  Events - National Gathering
National Gathering index, 1981-2015 2015 B1/F34
National Gathering  resolutions 1982-1993 B1/F35
National Gathering 1983-1984 B1/F36
National Gathering 1985 B9/F1
National Gathering 1988 B1/F37
National Gathering 1989-1993 B1/F38
National Gathering 1993 B1/F39
National Gathering 1994-1996 B1/F40
National Gathering [includes annual report] 1997-1999 B1/F41
National Gathering 2012 B9/F2
  Date Box/Folder
National Gathering 1999 B2/F1
National Gathering 2000-2001 B2/F2
National Gathering 2002-2003 B2/F3
National Gathering 2004 B2/F4
National Gathering 2005 B2/F5
  Events - General
General Synod not coalition specific 1981-1985 B2/F6
Events 1983-1988 B2/F7
UCC National Women's Meeting 1984 B2/F8
Homosexuality Symposium 1985 B2/F9
Iliff Women's Week 1987 B2/F10
Washington march 1987 B2/F11
Women's Space 1988 B2/F12
General Synods 1989-1996 B2/F13
General Synod Coalition activities 1989 B2/F14
Eilts, Mitzi: Installation as National Coordinator 1997 B2/F15
Anniversary - ONA 10th 1995 B9/F5
Anniversaries and celebrations 1997-2004 B2/F16
Anniversary – ONA 20th 2005-2006 B9/F6
Blessing National Office 1998 B2/F17
Events 1998-1999 B2/F18
Witness our Welcome (WOW) 2000 B2/F19
Witness our Welcome 2000, 2003 B2/F20
Events 2001, 2009, undated B2/F21
General Synod 2003 B2/F22
  Training and Leadership
Called out for good 1998-2007 B2/F23
Search and Call Conference 1998 B2/F24
National Religious Leadership Roundtable 2000 B2/F25
Southern Conference organizing 2004 B2/F26
Organizing 2005-2006 B2/F27
Creating Change 2006 B2/F28
Local field organizer meeting 2006 B2/F29
Out Front, Kansas City, building LGBT faith alliances 2007 B2/F30
Ecumenical leadership training 2008 B2/F31
Fellowship leadership retreat 2008 B2/F32

Series III: Correspondence

Date: 1971-2007
Extent: 2 boxes
Scope of Series: Types of material includes correspondence, working files, leadership's subject files. Centralized administrative subject files and programs are in Series V. Most of this series was created by Jan Griesinger, but also include Susan Echo, Jeff Logan, and the Coalition headquarters administration after it was centrally located in Cleveland.
Arrangement: Materials are arranged chronologically by creator.
  Date Box/Folder
  Susan B. Echo / Jeff Logan
Johnson, Bill 1975, 1980s B2/F33
Coordinating Center for Women 1977-1984 B2/F34
Correspondence and resources 1982-1985 B2/F35
Correspondence and working files 1983-1987 B2/F36
Susan Echo - working file 1983-1995 B2/F37
Jeff Logan - working file 1984-1985 B2/F38
Correspondence, Echo and Logan 1984-1985 B2/F39
RESTRICTED until 2020 - Correspondence, Echo 1986 B2/F40
Theological education, Echo 1987-1998 B2/F41
United Board for Homeland Ministries, volunteering, Echo 1992 B2/F42
  Jan Griesinger
Wood, Robert - correspondence, essays, speeches 1971, 1985-1989 B2/F43
Working files 1982-1997 B2/F44
Correspondence 1984 B2/F45
  Date Box/Folder
Correspondence 1985 B3/F1
Correspondence 1986 B3/F2
Correspondence 1987-1988 B3/F3
Correspondence 1989-1990 B3/F4
Correspondence 1990-1991 B3/F5
Correspondence 1991-1992 B3/F6
Correspondence 1992-1993 B3/F7
Correspondence 1992-1993 B3/F8
Correspondence 1993 B3/F9
Correspondence 1994 B3/F10
Correspondence 1995-1996 B3/F11
Correspondence 1996-1997 B3/F12
  Richard Taylor
Correspondence 1997 B3/F13
  Mitzi Eilts
Correspondence 1997-2002 B3/F14
Correspondence 1998-1999 B3/F15
Correspondence, non-members 1999-2000 B3/F16
  Administrative Office
Wood, Robert. Early history narrative undated B3/F17
Miller, Mary - letter, photograph, AIDS/HIV memorials 1989-2005 B3/F18
Sherry, Paul. "Now No Condemnation" letter and related material, response to Matthew Shepard murder 1998-1999 B3/F19
d'Helen, Lark 2001-2002 B3/F20
Warner, Gertrude. Play scripts circa 1950s 2007 B3/F21
  Marnie Warner, rose ann olmstead
Boston, Mass. Church of the Covenant's work with ONA/LGBT work 1981-2001 B9/F3

Series IV: Regional Chapters

Date: 1982-2009
Extent: 2 boxes
Scope of Series: The Coalition is divided into several regional groups, which create their own records and are maintained by the regional coordinators. Additionally, there are records from the parents chapter (UCC PFLAG) and the youth and young adult program. Most files are sparsely populated with fliers, brochures, newsletters, membership lists, and occasionally correspondence. Material from Ohio and Rocky Mountain chapters are more thorough because contributors Jan Griesinger and Susan Echo were both regional representatives. The Youth and Young Adult folders include more resources, supportive essays, and talking points than the regional groups.
Arrangement: The first section is general, administrative followed by an alphabetic listing of regional chapters. Also included are parents groups and youth and college campus groups listed after geographic regions.
  Date Box/Folder
Chapters, general 1998-2007 B3/F22
Chapters, correspondence and newsletters 1984-1988 B3/F23
Chapters, correspondence and newsletters 1988-1993 B3/F24
Chapters and coordinators correspondence and newsletters 1993-1998 B3/F25
California, Northern 1998-2001 B3/F26
California, Southern 1998-2000 B3/F27
  Date Box/Folder
California, Southern 2001-2009 B4/F1
Connecticut 1983-2001 B4/F2
Florida 1998-1999 B4/F3
Hawaii 1997-1999 B4/F4
Illinois 1994-2000 B4/F5
Illinois 1997-1999 B4/F6
Illinois 2000-2002 B4/F7
Iowa 1997-1998 B4/F8
Massachusetts 1999 B4/F9
Massachusetts 1983-2006 B9/F4
Minnesota 1996-1999 B4/F10
Minnesota 2001-2008 B4/F11
Missouri 1998-1999 B4/F12
New Hampshire 1999 B4/F13
New York, Metro 1998-1999 B4/F14
Ohio with UCC Ohio Conference 1982-1987 B4/F15
Ohio 1983-2004 B4/F16
Ohio with UCC Ohio Conference 1988-1991 B4/F17
Ohio 1996-2000 B4/F18
Pennsylvania North and South 1997-1999 B4/F19
Pennsylvania Southeast 2000-2002 B4/F20
Rhode Island 1998-1999 B4/F21
Rocky Mountain 1982-1983 B4/F22
Rocky Mountain 1985-1988 B4/F23
Rocky Mountain 1997-2000 B4/F24
Rocky Mountain 2001-2003 B4/F25
South Central 1999 B4/F26
Southwest 1998-1999 B4/F27
Southwest 2000-2001 B4/F28
Washington, North Idaho 1998 B4/F29
Parents, UCC PLG 1991-2002 B4/F30
UCC PFLAG 1990-1998 B4/F31
Youth, Young Adult Program 1989-2000 B4/F32
Youth, Young Adult Program 1992-1998 B4/F33
Youth, Young Adult Program 1997-2008 B4/F34
Youth, Young Adult Program, Our Whole Lives sexuality training 2009 B4/F35
Youth, Young Adult Program Suicide prevention resources 1999, 2008 B4/F36
Youth, Young Adult, College campus care packet 2005 B4/F37

Series V: Subject Files and Resources

Date: 1980-2009
Extent: 3 boxes
Scope of Series: Includes resources; newspaper clippings; correspondence; event publicity; essays, sermons, speeches; and support documents on the topics that the Coalition has interest in. The majority of the material focuses on marriage equality.
Arrangement: The first section, which comprises subject files, campaigns, and programs, are in alphabetical order. There is a more general section following that of resources that are not more topically described. The final section is for the essays, sermons, and speeches. These are in chronological order. A reason for multiple folders per topic includes different sources for the information and an intention to keep original order.
  Date Box/Folder
Adoption 2006-2009 B4/F38
Adoption amicus brief 1999-2001 B4/F39
AIDS-related 1980-1993 B4/F40
AIDS-related 1987-1993 B4/F41
AIDS Ministry Notebook 1980s B4/F42
AIDS resources, educational material 1987 B4/F43
Anti-racism 1994-2006 B4/F44
  Date Box/Folder
Bibliographies 2006, undated B5/F1
Bisexuality 1999-2002 B5/F2
Black history month circa 2006 B5/F3
Boy Scouts discriminatory policies, UCC resource packet 2001 B5/F4
Clergy: "And So We Speak" booklet 1998 B5/F5
Clergy: placement of lesbian/gay clergy 1989 B5/F6
Clergy: search and call for LGB survey 1998 B5/F7
Clergy: pastoral care/homosexuality resources 1985 B5/F8
Clergy: pastoral care packet 1986 B5/F9
Colorado's Amendment 2 [discriminatory] 1993 B5/F10
Covenant of Community undated B5/F11
deCygne, permission for use, Identity 2007 B5/F12
Hate crimes, external resources 2001 B5/F13
Hate crimes, violence towards gays and lesbians 1989 B5/F14
Hispanic Ministries Implementation Team 1995-2004 B5/F15
Institute For Welcoming (IFW) 2006 B5/F16
Marriage equality coordinators 2003-2004 B5/F17
Marriage equality endorsements for Synod resolution 2005 B5/F18
Marriage equality "Greatest of these is love" book of Massachusetts marriages 2005 B5/F19
Marriage equality photographs 2004 B5/F20
Marriage equality press releases, position papers, support 2005 B5/F21
Marriage equality resources produced by the UCC and Coalition 2004, undated B5/F22
Marriage equality resources, articles, support 2000-2005 B5/F23
Marriage equality resources and organizing "Called to Equality" 2004 B5/F24
Marriage equality resources, Lambda Legal 1998-1999 B5/F25
Marriage equality, same sex marriage and get out the vote 2004 B5/F26
Open and Affirming 1984-1986 B5/F27
Open and Affirming 1985 B5/F28
Open and Affirming 1986-1997 B5/F29
Open and Affirming 1992-1993 B5/F30
Open and Affirming 1985-2001 B5/F31
Open and Affirming advisory committee 2000-2004, undated B5/F32
Open and Affirming 2003 B5/F33
Open and Affirming resources 1980s B5/F34
Open and Affirming resources 1999-2000 B5/F35
Transgender resources 1997-2008 B5/F36
  Date Box/Folder
  General Resource
Request for resources 1984 B6/F1
Request for resources 1989 B6/F2
Request for resources 1998-1999, 2000 B6/F3
Bibliographies 1980s B6/F4
Resources in Denver 1980s B6/F5
Resources 1980s-1990s B6/F6
Resources 1990s B6/F7
Resources, support, articles by non-coalition/non-UCC sources 1990s B6/F8
Resources, support, articles by non-coalition/non-UCC sources 1990s B6/F9
  Articles, lectures, speeches, sermons
Lectures, educational 1980s-1990s B6/F10
Lectures, educational 1980s-1990s B6/F11
Writings in support of gay, lesbian causes, personal stories 1980s B6/F12
Sherman, Read S. The Effects of Polity on Gay People in the UCC 1985 B6/F13
Echo, Susan B. "Toward a Lesbian-feminist Theology" 1987 B6/F14
Addresses and speeches given at National Gathering and other events 1987-1993 B6/F15
Open and Affirming sermons 2001 B6/F16

Series VI: Allied Groups

Date: 1983-2007
Extent: 1 box
Scope of Series: Material includes information and contact with groups that support LGBT groups, primarily ecumenical/religious groups, although some material is non-religious. There are a few individual folders for groups that did not have concise material, otherwise most of the organizations are grouped in the Ecumenical groups folders.
Arrangement: Arranged in alphabetical order
  Date Box/Folder
Alternative churches 1983 B6/F17
Ecumenical gay, lesbian groups 1987 B6/F18
Ecumenical LGBT groups 1980s-2000s B6/F19
Faith in America 2006 B6/F20
Human Rights Campaign undated B6/F21
More Light Presbyterians 2003-2005 B6/F22
National Gay/Lesbian Taskforce 1999-2006 B6/F23
National Religious Leadership Roundtable 1999-2007 B6/F24
National Task Force on Human Sexuality, stories and correspondence 1980-1983 B6/F25
Religious Institute for Morality 1999-2001 B6/F26
UCC-related allied groups, departments 1999-2001 B6/F27
Wider Church Ministries 2004 B6/F28
Women's Taskforce 1976-1977 B6/F29
UCC Task Force on Women 1974-1978 B6/F30
World Pride 2006 B6/F31

Series VII: PR and Publications

Date: 1984-2012
Extent: 2 boxes
Technical Access: CDs and DVDs require an optical disk drive to view files; VHS video tapes require a VCR to view.
Scope of Series: Materials include photographs; press releases; newsletters; periodicals; audio-visual material; photographs; and news items that report on topics relating to the Coalition specifically or on issues and events that affect the Coalition and its constituents. The bulk of the material in this series comes from a broad set of sources. Much of that material has not been created by the Coalition, its members, or the UCC. However, given the marginalized nature of the gay rights movement and the decentralized nature of the Coalition, all this material was maintained to provide a deeper understanding of what the Coalition was collecting in order to support their causes.
Arrangement: Arranged by type of material, and then alphabetically within each sub-section when possible. General folders of one-off issues precede specific newsletters, which are primarily arranged by denomination rather than by specific title.
  Date Box/Folder
Photograph of Coalition March undated B6/F32
Photographs 2003, undated B6/F33
  Date Box
Winifred Johnson, National Gathering, VHS cassette 1986 B8
Gary Comstock, keynote speaker, National Gathering VHS cassette 1986 B8
National Gathering photographs 1991 B8
National Gathering photographs 1992 B8
National Gathering photographs 1994 B8
National Gathering photographs circa 1995 B8
Just and Loving Relationships, National Gathering, DVD 2004 B8
  Date Box/Folder
Public Relations 2010-2012 B6/F34
Publicity, clippings on members 1993-1995 B6/F35
Publicity, news 1984-1989 B6/F36
Publicity, news 1984-1989 B6/F37
Publicity, news circa 1984 B6/F38
Publicity, news 1998-1999, 2008 B6/F39
Publicity, news 2000-2005 B6/F40
  Date Box/Folder
Newsletters 1983, 1998-2004 B7/F1
Newsletters 1984-1989 B7/F2
Newsletters 1996-2004 B7/F3
Newsletters 1996-2004 B7/F4
Newsletters 1996-2000 B7/F5
Newsletters 1998-2000 B7/F6
Bi-Women newsletter (Boston) 2000-2001 B7/F7
Brethren Mennonite newsletters 1998-2001 B7/F8
Disciples Alliance newsletters 1991-2001 B7/F9
Gay Community News 1984 B7/F10
Open Hands 1999-2000 B7/F11
Presbyterian Newsletter (More Light) 2000-2004 B7/F12
UCC based publicity, news 1993-2008 B7/F13
United Church News 1985-1989 B7/F14
Unitarian Universalist newsletter 1999-2004 B7/F15
United Methodist newsletter 1996-2000 B7/F16
  Date Box
Drugs Kill God Saves, UCC Youth Against Drugs undated B8
United Church Coalition Lesbian/Gay Concerns Friends – Pink triangle on white background undated B8
The Coalition UCC Coalition for L.G.B.T. Concerns  Friends – Pink triangle on white background undated B8
United Church  Coalition For Lesbian/Gay Concerns – Pink triangle on black background undated B8
Concilio Para Ministerios Hispanos – Council for Hispanic Ministries – Black writing, red seal, beige background undated B8
The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns God's Extravagant Welcome – Purple writing, white background square button. 3 copies undated B8
God is still speaking, Dios habla todavia – black writing, red background, comma undated B8
UCC Coalition Pledge I've upped mine Up Yours II. 2 copies 1999-2000 B8