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 has published twelve 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 book, Henri’s Mantle-100 Meditations on Nouwen’s Life and Writings (2002) reflects on the words and friendship of his spiritual mentor, prolific religious author Henri J. M. Nouwen.
In 2005, Chris edited Troy Perry: Pastor and Prophet. His most recent books include As My Own Soul: The Blessing of Same-Gender Marriage (2009) and The Final Deadline: What Death Has Taught Me about Life (2010). The Word Is Out and Henri's Mantle are now available in Spanish language editions.
He has also contributed to a score of other books, including, Prayers for the New Social Awakening (2008), Den Svenska Psalmboken [Hymnbook for the Church of Sweden] (2007), Remembering Henri: The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen (2006), Befriending Life—Encounters with Henri Nouwen (2001) and Body and Soul: Womanist, Feminist, Queer Theologians Rethink Sexuality, Spirituality, and Social Justice (Fall, 2002).
His writings have appeared in many publications, including Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The New York Times, 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.
For HRC, the Human Rights Campaign, he has authored and edited two curricula, one on the film For the Bible Tells Me So and one on Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities.
For five years (1998-2002), Glaser was editor of Open Hands, a U.S./Canadian ecumenical quarterly magazine for one thousand congregations that are welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, sponsored by welcoming programs in seven denominations in the U.S. and Canada. Earlier he was news reporter and then news editor of Frontiers, a gay newsmagazine out of Los Angeles.
Chris has served in a variety of parish, campus, and youth ministries and as a member of countless church committees. As a volunteer, he has chaired the Spiritual Advisory Committee of AIDS Project Los Angeles, has been a board member of the Southern Association for Gender Education, Inc., as an ally of transgender people, and is presently on the advisory board of The Incarnation Institute for Sex & Faith. From 2001 to 2005, he served part-time as Spiritual Leader of the interfaith Midtown Spiritual Community.
In 2005, MCC invited him to serve as an interim pastor of Christ Covenant MCC in Decatur, Georgia, ordaining him that October. He served as interim of MCC San Francisco and of Virginia Highland Church (UCC/Baptist) in Atlanta.
Since 2011, Chris Glaser has written free weekly Progressive Christian Reflections under the auspices of the Office of Emerging Ministries of MCC. The blog may be found at http://www.chrisglaser.blogspot.com. His posts may also be found on other blogs, such as The Huffington Post, ProgressiveChristianity.org, and Believe Out Loud.
His awards include Yale Divinity School’s Alumni Award for Distinction in Lay Ministry (2004), the Inclusive Church Award from More Light Presbyterians (1998), and the Lazarus Award (1988).
The Advocate named him one of the Advocate 500, leaders who have helped shape the LGBT movement. 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, then the gay and lesbian newspaper of the South. He served as grand marshal of the Atlanta Pride parade in 2009.
A native Californian, Chris has made his home in Atlanta since 1993. He is married to Wade Jones.
(This biographical statement provided by Chris Glaser.)
Biography Date: August, 2002; rev 2017