Welcome to the SSOL Blog!

Welcome to the official blog for Sacred Space Online Learning (SSOL).  This is the place where we’ll highlight some of the best online classes, live webinars, on-demand webinars, book studies, online retreats, and SSOL-POP offerings that exist on SSOL!  It will also be the area where we’ll communicate important information about the SSOL website.

As important, the SSOL Blog is a place where we’ll be highlighting various educational events, ideas, and resources (online or offline).  Future blog posts will include information about educational resources available in print, book reviews, movie reviews, information about workshops and seminars, and much, much more!



Guide to College for LGBTQ Students

According to the Pew study, the median age for Americans to come out as part of the LGBTQ Community is 20, right in the middle of the college years for most students.




Choosing a college is a daunting task for any first-time student, but for LGBTQ students, it can be downright terrifying. A whopping 13.4% of LGBTQ high school students who report frequent verbal harassment plan on not attending college, and 20% of all currently enrolled college students report fearing for their physical safety due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. In response, many universities are taking steps to fight back for their most vulnerable students, but understanding what to look for in a school is still difficult, which is why AffordableColleges.com created a guide to college for LGBTQ students.

This guide isn’t a simple list of scholarships.  It also includes actionable strategies to assess a school on its inclusivity and programs to help make the transition to college easier for LGBTQ students.

SSOL and MCC proudly joins AffordableColleges.com in their belief that no college student should fear for their safety based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, and we want to help connect LGBTQ students with the information and scholarships they need to find the institution with their best interests at heart.

Explore the College Guide for LGBTQ students.

Did Liberals Really Win the Culture Wars?

Dr. Stephen Prothero – author of Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage – recently met with Luke Norsworthy to discuss the unholy alliance of Church and politics, Evangelicals interest in Donald Trump. the Moral Majority, baptizing a southern way of life , Anabaptists, racism, and being a righteous loser.

Listen to the Prothero podcast

Buy Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (click the image below)

Some reviews on Why Liberals Win the Culture War
Boston Globe

The Transgender Year!

Last year TIME Magazine sat down with Laverne Cox, the American transgender woman who stars in the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, and they called the article “The Transgender Tipping Point.”  If 2014 was tipping towards trans visibility, 2015 showed America that visibility of transgender folks was now on an upswing.

In January, President Obama condemned the persecution of “people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” becoming the first president to utter the word in a State of the Union address. “Transparent,” about an aging father who begins living as a woman, won two top awards at the Golden Globes. The May issue of Vogue has a photo spread with transgender model Andreja Pejic. Transgender activist and YouTube star Jazz Jennings debut her TLC show this summer. And, of course, this is the year when Bruce Jenner announced his transition into Caitlyn.

“We are at a social inflection point on transgender issues,” says Riki Wilchins, a former transgender activist and author of three books on queer theory, who believes all the attention could have a positive impact. “Civil rights for minorities come in fits and starts. We’re on an upswing now.”

Trans activists agree there’s still a long way to go before transgender people stop facing discrimination…or worse. They also realize that the majority of Americans know very little about the transgender people, their lives, and their stories.

Consider these two courses from Metropolitan Community Churches about the transgender community and begin your own journey of understanding:







Trans 101







Trans 102

New Online Courses/Webinars Added (Sept 30, 2015)

We’ve added new online course and online webinars to our SSOL Catalog!   Check out these great offerings and click on any title to learn more!

Advent Reflection Series (Metropolitan Community Churches)
Ancient Israel by Daniel Fleming (New York University)
Basics for Christian Educators (United Church of Christ)
Biblical Interpretation: An Ancient Text for Today’s World (Pacific School of Religion)
Cancer Care Ministry: Compassion and Companionship (United Church of Christ)
Human Rights: The Right to Freedom of Expression (Amnesty International)
Human Sexuality: Histories, Theologies and Politics of the Flesh (Pacific School of Religion)
Read more…

Our Faith, Our Vote: An Exploration of Faith and Elections


The Republican debates have begun, Trump is making a stir in the media, and Hillary is hitting the scene. America is bracing themselves for a packed election year next year and people of faith are wondering how they can be involved in the political process.

Consider this free on-demand webinar from the United Church of Christ that explores why it’s important for people of faith to be involved in electoral politics and how they can be a part of the process.

Learn more out Our Faith, Our Vote

Subverting the Gospel of Guns Event at Andover Newton Theological School


A two-day summit addressing the epidemic of gun violence in America will occur on Oct. 22-23 at Andover Newton Theological School (Boston, MA area).

This gathering will focus on the response by people of faith to the current situation in our country, and will provide action steps for how we can all work together to change the culture of guns and violence in our communities.
Keynote speakers include Attorney General Maura Healey (Commonwealth of Massachusetts) and Mayor Martin J. Walsh (City of Boston), and panels will feature more than a dozen speakers from law enforcement and religious and secular groups that are working to end the bloodshed in our neighborhoods.

They will also be honoring  The Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown (MDiv ’87) with the Spirit of the Hill award at a special dinner on Thursday night. Rev. Brown is one of the founders of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, is president of Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace (RECAP), and is a new Trustee of Andover Newton Theological School.

See the full list of speakers and panelists and register for this event. 

Inclusive Marriage Services: A Wedding Sourcebook

Inclusive Marriage Services: A Wedding Sourcebook by Kimberly Bracken Long

As the country moves toward marriage equality for gay and lesbian people, same-gender and straight couples alike are seeking inclusive wedding services. This sourcebook provides marriage liturgies with updated and gender-neutral language that are adaptable for a variety of couples and situations. Also included are prayers for events related to weddings such as rehearsal dinners, receptions, and anniversaries, as well as guidance for both couples and clergy involved in planning services.

The liturgies in Inclusive Marriage Services echo historic wedding rites yet offer language that can be used by all couples.

Buy Inclusive Marriage Services

A Review from Dr. Mona West (Metropolitan Community Churches)

This source book for inclusive wedding ceremonies – as well as prayers for rehearsal dinners and anniversaries – is timely for those of us who live in parts of the world where marriage equality is a reality.  The book also includes guidance for couples and clergy in planning the service.

Kimberly Bracken Long is Associate Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a leading expert in liturgy. Long is the editor of Feasting on the Word Worship Companion.

Pilgrimage of Just Peace: Forum Weekend

Bethany Theological Seminary will be holding their seventh annual Presidential Forum Weekend.  This year’s forum is entitled “A Pilgrimage of Just Peace.”  It will be held October 29 – October 31, 2015.  Registration information can be found on the Bethany Theological Seminary website.



Breakout Sessions:

“The Local Church as the Nexus for Just Peace”
Eden Grace, global ministries director, Friends United Meeting
It is at the local level that most individuals meaningfully engage in transformative work. This session will draw on the experience of Kenyan Quakers, to explore connections among grassroots action, the local worshipping body, and international advocacy.

“When Fiber Meets Steel: Reflections on Creative Process, Community Outcomes,
and Structural Violence”
Amanda Gross, Pennsylvania program director, American Friends Service Committee;
community artist
Covering Pittburgh’s Andy Warhol Bridge in fiber art was a community effort led by Amanda to live out values of inclusion, connection, and collective strength. This session uses a grassroots framework to explore arts-based community organizing.

“Do Black Lives Matter in a Primarily White Church?”
Matt Guynn, director of organizing, On Earth Peace
The Black Lives Matter movement has provoked conversation about racial inequity and policies related to police militarization and violence. This session will describe OEP’s racial justice organizing initiative and introduce participants to Kingian Nonviolence.

“Defenselessness, Nonresistance, or Pacifism?: Brethren Attitudes towards Peace”
Dr. Denise Kettering-Lane, assistant professor of Brethren studies, Bethany Seminary
How have Brethren attitudes toward peace changed over time? This session will explore the language and responses of Brethren to war and conflict from the past and present, considering the implications for Brethren today.

“From Just War to Just Peace”
Dr. Donald E. Miller, professor emeritus of Christian education and ethics, Bethany Seminary
After considering briefly the just war tradition, we will examine the principles of just peacemaking that have come from the international conferences of the Decade to Overcome Violence and the Pusan, South Korea, assembly of the World Council of Churches.

“The End of the World as We Know It”
David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project
Two paths lie before us in relation to God’s creation, both leading to the end of the world. We can continue our violence and abuse—and face ecological collapse and human conflict—or begin to live with respect and mutuality and live long and prosper in this new world.


Learn more on the Bethany Theological Seminary website