Pastor Thea

 

Pastor_Thea_Racelis_and_Family.jpgThea Racelis is a Latina Queer Christian theologian, Pastor, activist, educator, wife, and mommy to an amazing little human.

She is from Puerto Rico land of beautiful beaches, great music, and wonderful food - all of which she thoroughly enjoys! 

Pastor Thea did not grow up in the church but she grew up with a deep sense of spiritual connection. She learned the Prayer of Our Savior from her grandmother, attended church services in a variety of traditions with friends, and eagerly read her cute little copy of the New Testament plus Psalms. Her understanding of God has always been deeply rooted in justice and community. She fell in love with Jesus the disrupter, the comforter who brought light and love, and the one who turned the world upside down.  She still expects the church to do the work of disrupting, comforting, light-bearing, and world-turning.

She has been ministering to and with LGBTQIA community for years.  She has led workshops on spirituality for LGBTQIA youth, taught studies on the clobber passages, ministered in bars and nightclubs, stood against hate as a first responder to the Pulse Shooting in Orlando, and she taken every opportunity possible to proclaim God’s love and grace.

For Pastor Thea there has never been any doubt: God made all of us, and God loves all of us.  There are no exceptions!  God’s love and God’s extravagant welcome are for ALL, and, as the saying goes, All means ALL.  She has preached, written, sung, and honored this truth in her ministry and her daily living.

Pastor Thea has served in a variety of settings in the United Church of Christ, a church she fell in love with because of the commitment to justice and inclusion; the engagement with living faith that does not require suspending our intellect; and because of the congregational polity that nurtures our theological diversity.

She earned her Master of Divinity degree at Claremont School of Theology, where she was awarded by the Center for Sexuality and Gender in Religion for her commitment to diversity in the church. She also holds a Master in Education degree from the University of Puerto Rico.

She served in ministry as the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator of the United Church of Christ in Southern California and Nevada.  She was a Sustaining Transitional Minister of San Dimas Community Church, UCC.  Most recently, she and her family spent three years in Connecticut where she served as minister of The South Congregational Church of Middletown. 

In service to the Wider Church, Pastor Thea sat on the first unified United Church of Christ Board of Directors, as chair of the Justice and Witness Ministries Committee and a member of the Investment and Endowment Committee. She is also a trainer for both Our Whole Lives and the Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (JLED) programs. She has been a regularly featured writer on the UCC blog New Sacred, and a writer for the Cornerstone Fund.  She is currently working on a project toward completion of the Executive Certificate in Church Fundraising of the Lake Institute. 


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