The collection consists of miscellaneous
materials relating to the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, founded in
San Francisco in 1965, primarily for the period 1965-1973.
In the early 1960s, as social change accelerated across the U.S.,
progressive clergymen increasingly took to the streets to minister to
marginalized persons. The Rev. Ted McIlvenna, who worked for the Glide Urban
Center, a private Methodist foundation in downtown San Francisco, witnessed the
oppression and violence homosexuals faced, and to improve the situation sought
a dialogue between clergy and homosexuals. With the support of the Methodist
church, McIlvenna convened the Mill Valley Conference from May 31 to June 2,
1964, at which sixteen Methodist, Protestant Episcopal, United Church of
Christ, and Lutheran clergymen met with thirteen leaders of the homosexual
community. Following the initial meeting, the participants began plans for a
new organization that would educate religious communities about gay and lesbian
issues as well as enlist religious leaders to advocate for homosexual concerns.
In July 1964, the participants, along with several other clergymen and
homosexual activists, met and formed the Council on Religion and the Homosexual
(CRH), which was incorporated in December of that year. The CRH was the first
group in the U.S. to use the word "homosexual" in its name. This coalition of
clergy-almost all heterosexual-and homosexual leaders proved to be mutually
beneficial: homosexual leaders received the "cloak of the cloth" to sanction
their activities, while clergy expanded their sphere of social justice
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