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Observations on the Corporate Culture of a Gay and Lesbian Congregation

W. Bernard Lukenbill
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Sep., 1998), pp. 440-452
DOI: 10.2307/1388051
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1388051
Page Count: 13
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Observations on the Corporate Culture of a Gay and Lesbian Congregation
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Abstract

This article presents a naturalistic study based on analysis of archival and other data of the corporate culture of the Metropolitan Community Church of Austin, Inc., a local congregation associated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC). UFMCC is a Christian denomination which has traditionally served a largely homosexual membership. Guided by a definition of essentialism as given by Warner (1995: 97-99) -- the right to be who you are -- the data suggest that this congregation has used essentialistic means to form a strong sense of self. It has freely relied upon political, social, psychological, and religious approaches and actions to foster its sense of worth. Corporate cultural themes present in the congregation include actions directed at positive identity formation and self-esteem enhancement; study and dissemination of a theology based on historical-critical analysis; religious ceremony, preaching and ministry which recognizes its legitimacy as a Christian church; commitment to social and political actions in terms of human and political rights; fostering of friendship and bonding among members; recognizing and dealing with internal conflict; and development of a sense of historical importance.

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