University Baptist Church
is a progressive, welcoming, and inclusive church located right across the street from the Ohio State University campus. We're affiliated with a number of Baptist groups, including the American Baptist Churches USA, the Alliance of Baptists, the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.
We seek to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the world. It means we reject biblical literalism, choosing instead to interpret the Bible in ways that give primacy to the witness to God we see in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It means we see all of life as important, not just some hermetically sealed "spiritual" realm. It means we seek to share God's passion for social justice, and work to advance God's reign on earth as it is in heaven. It also means that we are open to new ideas, that no question is off limits, and that we take seriously the perspectives of every member of the community.
UBC is a welcoming and affirming church that seeks to provide an atmosphere in which every person feels at home in our fellowship and has his or her status as a child of God honored and reinforced. This includes our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer neighbors. To be welcoming is to say that folks from the LGBTQ community can worship in our church without fear; to be affirming is to say that we honor their full humanity, that we believe they reflect the image of God just as much as our straight members, and that we invite them to hold leadership roles in the church.
Our faith community comprises people of different races, different sexual orientations, different ages, different national and ethnic backgrounds, different income levels, and different educational attainments. For fifty years we have hosted an International Neighborhood Coffee Hour, in which women from many different countries and cultures come together to learn English and develop new friendships. Historically, we were one of the first Baptist churches in our region to become racially integrated and to ordain women to the gospel ministry, and we are still the only LGBTQ-friendly Baptist church in Columbus.
UBC is a small but vibrant congregation.
We currently average between thirty and forty worshipers on Sunday morning, but we have recently seen a number of new persons and families join the church, and we look forward to greater numerical growth in the coming days. More important than numbers, however, is the growth in our love for God, for one another, and for the broader community. To further that growth, we provide opportunities for worship and spiritual formation, fellowship, community service, ecumenical and interfaith engagement, and advocacy for social justice.
Here is a short list of some of the activities in which UBC members have participated in 2016:
- Interfaith prayer circles and rallies
- Weekly Taizé prayer services during Lent
- Ecumenical Holy Week worship services
- Easter banquet
- Documentary screening about gun violence
- Celebration of Pastor Bob Turner’s installation
- Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade and Festival
- Prayer vigil for the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando
- Conflict transformation workshop
- Walking in the CROP Walk to fight hunger
- Book study of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Presentation by Shane Claiborne and Ohioans to Stop Executions on ending the death penalty
- … and many others.