A Personal Message to United Church of Christ Clergy
By Michael Dowd
Click here to see VIDEO CLIPS and PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS I offer in liberal and conservative Christian settings. Click here to learn how I interpreted the UCC Statement of Faith in my ordination paper, written in 1990. Click here to see endorsements of my book, Thank God for Evolution, from endorsed by 6 Nobel-prize-winning scientists, and by religious leaders across the spectrum. Click here to sample postings from my Huffington Post blog.
Before inviting me into their pulpit, some UCC ministers want to know why I no longer have standing in the United Church of Christ.
I was disfellowshipped by the UCC in 1995 because the denominational leadership concluded at the time, rightly so, that I was unfit to be a UCC pastor, given my sexual ethics and practice during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
While serving my first church, in 1989, I had an affair with a deacon in my congregation. Moreover, when this fact became publicly known years later, my first wife and I were practicing "polyamory" that is, we were living non-monogamously.
Even though most of my former congregants would say that I was a beloved and effective pastor, because of my confused morals and unclear pastoral boundaries, I was deemed unsuitable for pastoral ministry. I fully agree with their decision.
My non-monogamous lifestyle (at the time) ultimately cost me much more than my ministry. It also cost me my marriage. Alison divorced me in 1995, after falling in love with another man.
Much has changed over the last 19 years. The two most relevant to this topic are: (1) I have been in active recovery for nearly two decades (I still regularly attend 12-step meetings), and (2) I am happily married, monogamously, to Connie Barlow, my mission partner (and have been since June 2001).
Since January 2002, I have spoken to nearly 2,000 groups across North America, promoting sustainability and preaching a faith-enriching way of interpreting "Big History" (the evolutionary history of everyone and everything) in churches and retreat centers across North America, including dozens of UCC churches. It is not my life-course to enter any form of pastoral ministry again, but I DO know that the message I am called to share and my heart-based approach and presentation skills well serve any Christian congregation in which I am invited to speak or preach. (Words of praise from Christian churches in which I served as pulpit guest or religious educator can be accessed here.) I realize, of course, that my having been disfellowshipped by the United Church of Christ makes this distinction most sensitive in a UCC context.
I welcome a conversation with you on the phone if you have any concerns inviting me into your church for a guest sermon or evening program. If you’d like to schedule a time to talk, please email me at
Michael@ThankGodforEvoution.com or just call or Skype me.
Thank you, and God bless,
~ Michael Dowd
P.S. Beyond Sunday sermons, I also offer a multi-media program. Below you can preview online an evening program that I have offered in dozens of religious or secular settings. I presented a version of it at the United Nations in April 2009 and it was enthusiastically received there as well: "Evolutionize Your Life: Heaven Is Coming Home to Reality" (alt title: "Deep-Time Grace: An Inspiring Vision of Humanity's Future") My TEDx talk, "Why We Struggle and Suffer" is a shorter (20-minute) version of this same program.
"Evolutionize Your Life" multi-media program
with high-speed internet