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Rev. Emily C. Heath
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The Rev. Emily C. Heath is a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister and the Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the author of "Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity", just released from Pilgrim Press.

Heath's personal website can be found here: here.

Entries by Rev. Emily C. Heath

Room at the Table: When Separation Is the Faithful Option

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2016 | 4:29 PM

I love the hope expressed in the Gospel phrase "that they may all be one". It was Christ's hope for the church, and it's the motto of my own denomination, the United Church of Christ.

At the same time, I'm watching as the United Methodist Church moves towards a possible...

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Death in the Time of Facebook

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2016 | 7:43 PM

About two weeks ago my college chaplain, a man who had greatly influenced my faith and life, and who helped set me on the track to seminary and ordination, suffered a serious stroke.

I found out on Facebook. Now, before you complain about modern technology, let me say I was...

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A Christian Minister on Restrooms, Gender and Fear

(158) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 3:23 PM

My wife and I have a joke. We tell it when we are out in public, at an airport or a restaurant or concert, and I need to use the bathroom. When I stand up to find a restroom I say to her, "Okay, honey, if I'm not out in...

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Christians and Coffee Cups

(103) Comments | Posted November 8, 2015 | 7:59 AM

It’s early November and already this year’s installment of the so-called “War on Christmas” has begun. All over social media I’m seeing rants from angry Christians who are trying to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. And the first volley of shots has already been launched against an unlikely target: Starbucks.


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Religious Liberty, Marriage Licenses and Losing a Job for the Gospel

(365) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 9:01 AM

I was looking for a something new. That was the start of it. I made a phone call and talked with a recruiter. And a packet of pamphlets and government forms arrived in my mailbox not long afterwards.

I had been a minister for several years. I enjoyed trauma chaplaincy...

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Atticus and Me

(16) Comments | Posted July 12, 2015 | 9:31 PM

I read To Kill a Mockingbird the summer between 8th and 9th grade. It was a hot, Southern summer and my mom and I went into a bookstore to look for some indoor reading. She bought me the book, and I took it home and devoured it.

I was transformed,...

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To the Guy Flying a Confederate Flag in New England

(3792) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 10:30 AM

I saw your truck parked in front of the Rite-Aid, right by the Dunkin Donuts. Two large Confederate flags were attached to the back of it, waving in the wind. The American flag was, incongruously, in the center. And, I have to confess, I don't get it.

Part of me...

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Why Do the Hateful Choose Our Houses of Worship?

(6) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 3:56 PM

One day during my first pastorate, back in Vermont, I went to the Post Office to get the church mail. That day there was an envelope with the name of a fake organization on it and no return address. It was addressed to me, and so standing there in the...

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Bravery Is Not a Contest

(8) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 1:44 PM

This week Caitlyn Jenner's picture appeared on the front cover of Vanity Fair. Immediately people online began to juxtapose her photo next to photos of veterans and first responders, saying that "real bravery" looked like the latter, and that Caitlyn was not brave.

I reject that false dichotomy. Bravery is...

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Reclaiming the Progressive Church, Starting With Our Values

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 2:49 PM

In the very recent past, the term "progressive Christian" has come to be conflated with "emergent Christian" and "post-evangelical Christian". And I'm not saying that you can't be one of those things and also be a progressive Christian. This is a big tent movement, and you can.

But I...

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Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and the Hindsight Luxury of Thinking I'd Do the Right Thing

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 9:14 AM

Sunday in worship, during our time for children, I talked about Dr. Martin Luther King. The children and youth at my congregation, from pre-K on up to high school seniors, are exceptional in so many respects. Sunday was no exception. When I asked our elementary-aged students what they knew about...

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Bishop Heather Cook, Sobriety, and the Question of Who Should be Clergy

(41) Comments | Posted January 2, 2015 | 7:42 AM

A few people have asked me, as a clergy person openly in longterm recovery, what my thoughts are on whether Bishop Heather Cook, the Episcopal bishop in Maryland who struck and killed a motorist and who had a history of driving under the influence, should have been serving as a...

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The Next Big Thing for the Progressive Church

(3) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 1:54 PM

"So, now that we have LGBT equality in the progressive mainline church, what are we going to do now? What's the next big thing?"

I get asked that question from time to time. The tide seems to have turned in many ways when it comes to the inclusion of LGBT...

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Grocery Store Theology: Market Basket, Labor Day, and Respecting the Worker

(6) Comments | Posted August 31, 2014 | 11:11 PM

In early July, I started a new pastorate and my spouse and I moved to southern New Hampshire. There are three large grocery stores in our new towns, as well as a handful of smaller markets, but before we ever got here she knew exactly where she wanted to shop:...

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The Tyranny of Consensus: How Your Church Can Make Better Decisions

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 11:56 AM

Remember those "What I Learned on my Summer Vacation" essays from school? Think of this post as one of those. A little over two weeks ago I finished my pastorate in Vermont and moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, where I will be starting a new pastorate a week from today.

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How to Be a Pentecost Church: Five Pointers for Congregations

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 6:58 PM

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday in the church. It's the Sunday when churches everywhere are filled with the color red, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, and we celebrate a story from the church's earliest days. On Pentecost we remember how the Holy Spirit came to the early disciples like a "mighty...

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A Letter from the "Dying" Church

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 2:36 PM

To my mourners:

Sometimes the dying are the first to know. While others believe you are invincible, you quietly go around collecting pamphlets from hospice and making final arrangements. But sometimes, more rarely, the dying are the last to know. While they feel alive and vital, others are picking out...

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Defending True Religious Liberty: Church Files Lawsuit in Support of Marriage Equality

(119) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 11:15 AM

This morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, the United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. This suit argues that the current law in North Carolina, as it pertains to marriage, violates religious freedom by prohibiting UCC ministers, and other clergy, from officiating at same-sex marriages.

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A Prayer for Good Friday

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 12:45 PM

Prince of Peace, redeemer of us all, crucified God, we have gathered at the foot of the cross, and at the entrance to the tomb, and we have rolled the stone across it.

The world sometimes does its worst, even to those who don't deserve it. You know that, because...

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An Open Letter to Sunnie Kahle (and Christian Tomboys Everywhere)

(15) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 11:52 AM

Dear Sunnie,

You don't know me, but this morning I read an article about you. Ever since then you keep crossing my mind. As I went around town today in my jeans and men's Oxford shirt and sweater, I thought about you. As I came home from the gym tonight,...

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