January 8, 2019
Plymouth’s Community Service and Social Action (CSSA) is pleased to share this greeting from Dan Hammer, new Program Coordinator for 2018 Plymouth Change Grant recipient Lambert House. “We are delighted that this is just the beginning of quite a bit of light to be shined on Plymouth's most recent Change Grant,” said Bill Zook, CSSA Board member. Welcome Dan!
"Amidst familiarity of the season, a moment of newness arrived for me this year in the story of the angel announcing the birth of John the Baptist. From within this well-worn prophecy, I held on to a shred of text I hadn’t noticed before:
John will go before the coming of God “to turn the hearts of parents to their children,” (Luke 1:17).
This text particularly resonates with me as I begin heading up the new Faith Leader Engagement program through Lambert House. When parents reject their LGBTQ+ child, they almost always cite their religious beliefs as the reason. Yet according to the gospel writer, part of the good news of Advent is the possibility of these parents’ hearts turning once again toward their children as an expression of divine love putting things in right order—the ministry of justice.
Through LGBTQ+ cultural competency training workshops, one-on-one consultations with faith leaders and parents and offering pertinent resources, the Faith Leader Engagement program will support faith leaders both in 1) guiding parents of LGBTQ+ youth toward more life-giving responses when a young person comes out, and 2) providing the best possible spiritual care to LGBTQ+ people of all ages who seek it from within their faith communities.
I am eager to be part of this important work, and we at Lambert House are grateful for the generous support from Plymouth Church UCC Change Grant that makes this new program possible. I will share specific volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved as they emerge. My hope for this partnership is that hearts of families and faith communities continue to turn in love toward LGBTQ+ people as flashes of divine reveal themselves in new and unexpected ways." Peace, – Dan Hammer (Dan@LambertHouse.org) Program Coordinator/Faith Leader Engagement, Lambert House (LambertHouse.org)
Dan Hammer was born the son of a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor. He lived first-hand coming out to religious parents and other faith leaders, integrating his faith and identity as a gay person and relocating to a faith community that offers a life-giving brand of spiritual care for LGBTQ parishioners.
Dan completed Master's and Doctoral Degrees in Worship Studies from Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies and continuing theological education from Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry. He served on staff at four churches over the past 12 years (including University UCC) and is currently Director of Music and Worship at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. Dan is certified ready to receive an ordained call with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Dan and husband Josh, live on Beacon Hill and enjoy time with Dan's 9-year-old son Isaac. Dan is excited to develop and implement this new program through Lambert House. He believes much good can flow out of vital engagement with faith leaders for LGBTQ teens, their families and communities.