Chris Glaser


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Chris Glaser received his M.Div. from Yale University Divinity School in 1977 and earlier, his B.A. in English Honors and Religious Studies from California State University, Northridge, in 1973. While in college he served as Director of Youth Ministry of the Congregational Church of Northridge (UCC) and was ordained an elder of his home congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Van Nuys.

In 1974 Glaser founded what became the Gay/Lesbian/Straight Coalition at Yale Divinity School, and, in 1976, he founded the Gay/Lesbian Peer Counseling Service at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia while a campus ministry intern for the Christian Association (1975-1976). From 1977 to 1987, he served as founding Director of the Lazarus Project, a ministry of reconciliation between the church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Los Angeles, funded by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) nationally and regionally. Shortly thereafter he served a year as an interim campus chaplain at the United Campus Ministry of the University of Southern California.

Glaser was the openly gay member of the Presbyterian Task Force to Study Homosexuality which met from 1976-1978. When the denomination rejected the favorable recommendations of that committee and established a policy forbidding the ordination of gays and lesbians in 1978, he was refused ordination while remaining employed by the church as Lazarus Director.

He ghostwrote and edited much of the denomination’s 1985 book, Breaking the Silence, Overcoming the Fear - Resources in Homophobia Education. He served as the second national coordinator and treasurer of Presbyterians for Lesbian & Gay Concerns, overseeing its acquiring not-for-profit status with the IRS and writing the first annual report accepted by a Presbyterian General Assembly in 1979. As editor of its newsletter for three years, he gave the publication its name, More Light, now known as the More Light Update, from which More Light churches that are welcoming of LGBT people get their name. He continued to serve the More Light Update as columnist and guest editor and writer of semi-annual prayerbooks and collections of resource materials. He has also written two youth curricula for a consortium of churches, including the PC(USA), on worship and on racism, and edited two others on evangelism and 1 and 2 Samuel.

Chris Glaser is the author of nine books, including Uncommon Calling (1988), Come Home! (1990), and Coming Out as Sacrament (1998), and a series of devotional books: Coming Out to God (1991), The Word Is Out (1994), Communion of Life-Meditations for the New Millennium (1999), and Reformation of the Heart (2001). Collaborating with his golden Labrador retriever, Calvin, he "translated from the canine" Unleashed-The Wit and Wisdom of Calvin the Dog (1998). His forthcoming book, Henri’s Mantle-100 Meditations on Nouwen’s Life and Writings (due September, 2002) reflects on the words and friendship of his spiritual mentor, prolific religious author Henri J. M. Nouwen.

He has also contributed to more than a dozen other books, most recently, Befriending Life-Encounters with Henri Nouwen (2001) and Body and Soul: Womanist, Feminist, Queer Theologians Rethink Sexuality, Spirituality, and Social Justice (due in the fall of 2002). His writings have appeared in many publications, including Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Advocate, Frontiers, Christianity and Crisis (for which he was a columnist), The Christian Century, and a range of church periodicals, including Church and Society and Presbyterians Today.

Glaser has been editor of Open Hands since 1998, a U.S./Canadian ecumenical quarterly magazine for congregations in seven denominations that are welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Previously, he was news reporter and then news editor of Frontiers, a gay newsmagazine in Los Angeles that is also distributed nationally.

Traveling widely as a speaker and retreat leader, he has spoken on hundreds of college and seminary campuses, churches, retreat centers, and meeting halls to a wide variety of religious and secular groups, straight and LGBT and blended. He has addressed PFLAG groups and city councils, and has appeared often on television and radio, in magazines and newspapers. His subject matter has included the church/the Bible and homosexuality, the spiritual gifts of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, same-gender marriage, and more generally, the spiritual life, men’s spirituality, the Bible, Henri Nouwen (with whom he studied), and more.

Chris has served in a variety of parish, campus, and youth ministries and as a member of countless church committees. For two years he chaired the Spiritual Advisory Committee of AIDS Project Los Angeles. Presently he serves on the board of the newly-formed Southern Association for Gender Education, Inc., as an ally of transgender people.

A native Californian, Chris now makes his home in Atlanta with two golden retriever/Labrador mixes, Calvin, the author, and Mrs. Hobbes, an “adopted” stray. He is a member of Ormewood Park Presbyterian Church, a More Light congregation in his neighborhood. His most recent award is the 1998 Inclusive Church Award from More Light Presbyterians. In honor of Hotlanta 2001 he was named one of 100 “hot” persons, places, and things in Atlanta (one of five “hot” writers), as chosen by readers and the editorial staff of Southern Voice, the gay and lesbian newspaper of the South.

(This biographical statement provided by Chris Glaser.)

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Created: 8/25/2002 1:15:00 PM

Modified: 3/1/2004 4:51:30 PM

Biography: August, 2002