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Christopher R. Glaser, 1977 M.Div.
Christopher R. Glaser, a prominent advocate of gay and lesbian rights and spiritual leader of Midtown Spiritual Community, an interfaith contemplative community in Atlanta, was presented with the Alumni Award for Distinction in Lay Ministry. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1977.
While at YDS, Glaser founded the predecessor group to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) Coalition and, during a campus ministry internship at the University of Pennsylvania in 1976, founded a gay and lesbian peer-counseling program. During his senior year at Yale Divinity School, he began serving on the Task Force to Study Homosexuality of the former United Presbyterian Church as its only openly gay member. Upon graduating in 1977, Glaser served 10 years as founding director of the Lazarus Project, a ministry of reconciliation between the church and the GLBT community located at the West Hollywood Presbyterian Church in California. Glaser helped found, and later led, Presbyterians for Lesbian & Gay Concerns (now More Light Presbyterians,)
As an openly gay candidate for the ministry, he was denied ordination. Susan Klein, M.Div. '77, who presented the award, said, "Although denied ordination in the Presbyterian Church, Chris continued to serve God by challenging the church to become truly inclusive, and his influence on the church has been profound and revolutionary."
Glaser said, "I look forward to the time when a gay man or lesbian can qualify for the ordained ministry. I look forward to the time when there is not such a big distinction between the lay and ordained ministry."
Formative influences on him during his years at Yale, Glaser said, included Joan Forsberg, Letty Russell, John Boswell, and Henri Nouwen.
Glaser has published nine books, including Uncommon Calling, Coming Out as Sacrament, and, most recently, Henri's Mantle: 100 Meditations on Nouwen's Legacy.