News from AllianceQ: September 2019

Rev. Tim Tiffany Receives the Peevey/Harris Recognition at Alliance Banquet

From time to time AllianceQ recognizes those who have performed extraordinary service that furthers the mission of the Alliance. At the AllianceQ Banquet at the Des Moines General Assembly in July, Rev. Tim Tiffany received the Peevey/Harris Recognition.

The Peevey/Harris Recognition

This Recognition is named for Rev. Debra Peevey of Seattle, Washing​ton, and Rev. Allen Harris of New York, New York. Rev. Peevey, formerly pastor of Findlay Street Christian Church inSeattle, came out as a lesbian to her congregation and subsequently lead them through the process of be​coming Open & Affirming in 1988. She was the first recipient of this Recognition which was given at the 1991 Tulsa Event prior to the Tulsa General Assembly. Rev. Harris, co-pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church in New York, was called to that congregation and ordained as an openly gay clergyman and subsequently helped lead them to becoming Open & Affirming in 1992. Rev. Harris was the second recipient of this Recognition which was given at the 1992 Fort Worth Event. Rev. Peevey and Rev. Harris were original members of the former Coor​dinating Committee of the Alliance. This Recognition shall be given to individuals and groups who contribute significantly to leading their congregations to become Open & Affirming or who contribute significantly to the visible presence of the Alliance within the congregational manifestation of the church.

Tim was nominated for this recognition by Michael Kinnamon, and we’ll let his words speak to the power of Tim’s work:

Dear Robin and AllianceQ Friends,

This is a nomination of Rev. Tim Tiffany to receive the Peevy/Harris Recognition at the 2019 General Assembly. As a proud recipient of the Carol Blakely Recognition (1993), I give thanks for the opportunity to lift up deserving Disciples for such an award. Tim is certainly such a person.

Rev. Tiffany, now retired, served congregations in Indiana, California, and Oregon from 1977 to 2012, becoming a member of GLAD at the Tulsa Assembly in 1991. Following that assembly, he led First Christian Church in Concord, California in a systematic study of homosexuality and the Bible, including lunch sessions with prominent gay and lesbian Christians in northern California. In 1992, FCC, Concord voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation, subsequently giving leadership to the region’s decision to become Open and Affirming.

Tim was called to FCC in Medford, Oregon with a mandate to guide them toward becoming Open and Affirming. However, when he performed the wedding of a lesbian couple in 1998, 30-40 members withdrew, taking 35 percent of the operating budget with them. A move to fire Tim was defeated, but he worked for several years for partial salary, supplemented by substitute teaching. As a result of his faithful witness, FCC, Medford eventually became Open and Affirming.

From 2002 to 2012, Tim served University Christian Church in San Diego (an Open and Affirming congregation), where he continued the fine work of Dr. David Downing. During Tim’s tenure there, the congregation welcomed the practice of performing same sex weddings, and the percentage of LGBTQ members increased four-fold, with many of the new members filling leadership positions.

In each of these positions, Tim has been strongly supported by his wife, Ruth. Neither of them has sought recognition for their courageous — and, at times, costly — demonstration of God’s inclusive love. In that sense, Rev. Tim Tiffany is representative of scores of congregational ministers who proclaimed the gospel of welcoming grace, in word and deed, when and where it wasn’t popular to do so. Such faithful servants deserve the church’s thanks — and I am grateful that AllianceQ gives such recognition!

Warm regards,

Michael Kinnamon