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.
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 22 years. The two most relevant to this topic are: (1) I have been in active recovery for two decades (I 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 more than 2,200 groups across North America, promoting sustainability and preaching a pro-science, pro-future 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. (Words of praise from Christian churches in which I served as pulpit guest or religious educator can be accessed here.)
In any event, 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.
~ Michael Dowd
Originally posted: 2003
Last update: 2017