A clergyman instrumental in forcing the state of Nebraska to allow
same-gender couples to become foster parents will preach his first service September 8 as interim minister of Tulsa’s Hope Unitarian Church, 8432 S. Sheridan Road.
The Rev. Gregory L. Stewart and Stillman Stewart, his husband of 39
years, sued the state with two other couples to overturn a ban in place since 1995 and were successful in 2014. The Rev. Stewart and his husband adopted five at-risk children of color through the county of Los Angeles, CA, and took them to Lincoln, NE, where the trial was held.
“These kids were ages two and one-half weeks to seven years old when they joined our “forever family,” says Stewart. “All but the youngest were in twelve to fifteen previous foster homes; two of them were still in diapers at ages four and six, and did not know how to eat with utensils.” The documentary, Preacher’s Sons, followed the family though five years of their lives up to the boys’ adoptions.
The family was featured in the PBS program “In The Life” and in “Social Action Heroes; Unitarian Universalists Who are Changing the World,” Boston: Skinner House books. The family has also appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and, most recently, in the Washington Post. The minister was also pictured in the New York Times while marrying a same-gender couple at San Francisco’s city hall.
Established in 1968, Hope Unitarian Church has been a progressive religious voice in South Tulsa since its inception. “I believe that Hope Unitarian is poised to be a congregation where reason and wonder thrive,” says Stewart, “a church for those who don’t like church.”
Historically, Unitarianism has promoted freedom, reason and tolerance in matters of faith and practice, and has welcomed freethinkers and the faithful alike. “We don’t teach people what to think; instead, we teach them to think for themselves,” says Stewart.
He has served churches in Evanston, IL, Oklahoma City, Bethesda, MD, Lincoln, San Francisco, Grand Rapids, MI, Pasadena, CA, Reno, NV, Shaker Heights, OH and Chicago, and holds a master of divinity degree from the University of Chicago, a master of music from Roosevelt University and bachelor of arts from the University of Illinois.
Rev. Stewart fills the pulpit last served by the Rev. Cathey Edwards. He begins his preaching ministry September 8 at 11:00 a.m.