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Circular Congregational Church

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Last year was a good year for progressive Christians to shine in Charleston. As the Holy City became a legal battleground in the fight for marriage equality, some pastors — including Circular Congregational Church’s Rev. Jeremy Rutledge ­— announced they’d gladly officiate same-sex marriage and commitment ceremonies. The church unfurled a rainbow banner on their front fence bearing a slogan of the United Church of Christ: “God is still speaking.” In addition to opening its doors to members of the LGBT community, the church also took an active role in the Charleston Area Justice Ministry, an ecumenical and interfaith organization that lobbies local government officials to address problems of economic inequality and social injustice. Rutledge was one of the speakers at CAJM’s Nehemiah Action last April, which saw Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. and then-Charleston County School District Superintendent Nancy McGinley getting visibly flustered as religious leaders presented a list of policy demands. “There are a few voices outside of this room that would seek to discredit our organization altogether,” Rutledge said at the time, “so we must be doing something right.”

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