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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. She is also a member of the national United Church of Christ Board, and a speaker and writer on Christian faith and social justice.

A displaced Southerner, Rev. Heath now lives in New England with her wife Heidi, a recent seminary graduate.

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

Entries by Rev. Emily C. Heath

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

(367) 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

(4225) 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?

(7) 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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Dreading Lent: An Alternative Proposal

(3) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 11:01 AM

A few weeks ago I was standing in the check-out line of our village market. The selection of cards by the cash register had just made their changeover from Valentine's Day to Easter, despite the fact Lent had not yet even begun. That's not a huge surprise, of course. The...

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The 'Religious Liberty Quiz' and Why I Wrote It

(2) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 3:44 PM

It's funny when you write something that you think is timely, and you find out that, sadly, it is not. Let me explain what I mean. About 18 months ago I wrote a piece about religious liberty. It went up on Huffington Post and it seemed to resonate with a...

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Falling: Recovery, Silence and the Church

(2) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 1:59 PM

Twice in my life I have competed in contact sports. After a childhood spent envying the boys on my block who could play on the football team, I joined my college's rugby team. It was a club sport at my school, more adventure than varsity, but it was one of...

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No One Remembers the Name of the Inn: A Christmas Eve Homily

(1) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 9:39 AM

When we tell and retell the most important stories of our life, we often find that every time we tell it, there are a few details that we can't leave out of the story. Whether it's the name of the hotel where you stayed on a honeymoon, or the hospital...

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