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Christopher Schouten's
United Church of Christ 
Ministry Portfolio

My Journey & My Calling

Reconnecting People with Themselves & God

My story could have turned out very differently. Growing up gay at a time when most churches vilified, abused, and abandoned LGBTQIA+ people as being fundamentally “sinful", I was blessed to be part of a UCC church and other spiritual organizations that put me on a path to experiencing a deep, transformational sense of God’s love. Over time - and through a diverse, ongoing spiritual practice in community with others - that love has given me a real sense of wholeness.

My experience has been very different from many of my LGBTQ+ contemporaries who have rejected the church and deemed it irrelevant at best and evil at worst, often discarding any desire for a relationship with God in the process. These are the things that call me to a ministry of preaching God’s love for ALL people, especially to those who have been marginalized and shamed by religious people, leaders and communities and have abandoned their connection to the divine. I want to help reconnect people to the love and the grace that is their birthright through a ministry of inclusion, relevance, depth and joy.

At the same time, this journey has also taught me self-awareness, self-love, the ability to be vulnerable and authentic, and the unfathomable value of being connected in communities of growth and service. This is something I believe has value to all people, and this kind of personal growth work in the church is a strong part of my ministry, because I believe it equips us to be our happiest, best selves and the most effective disciples, ministers, followers, and stewards of God that we can be in the world.  

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