Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Papers of the Rev. Chuck Lewis

The Rev. Charles "Chuck" Lewis is a retired pastor known for his radical ministry in San Francisco at the North Beach Fellowship (a ministry primarily to black public housing residents) and was potentially the first Lutheran missionary to the LGBT community.  Officially, recorded as a ministry to "single men" Pastor Lewis is a founding member of the Council of Religion and the Homosexual and a leading figure in clergy led advocacy for gay rights in the 60's and 70's.   This portion of The Rev. Chuck Lewis papers is courtesy of the Rev. Chuck Lewis and the ELCA Region II Archives.

For academic purposes please use the following citation for these primary sources:  Document, Folder, The Papers of the Rev. Chuck Lewis, Queerly Lutheran Archive, San Francisco, CA, Date of Document.

Documents are for personal and academic use only.  Individuals interested in publishing or reposting documents must seek permission from Pastor Megan Rohrer (

Chuck's Call to North Beach Fellowship to "Single Men"

  • Letters with Carl Segerhammer Here President of the Pacific Southwest Synod (LCA) Segerhammar notes: "you are far more than a ministry or mission to the homosexuals" and later expresses his success at refraining from telling a lesbian who calls to talk that she should stop being a lesbian.
  • Chuck Begins His Work

Educating Lutherans about LGBT Issues:

Ministry to the LGBT Community:

  • SIR Dedication (1966 Folder)
  • Daughters of Bilitis (Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the co-founders worked as secretaries at Glide in order to have free use of the copy machine for their magazines.  They were some of the homophile leaders that asked the Central City Pastors to Create the Council for the Religion and the Homosexual.  Later, when Jo Chadwick's funding is ended at North Beach Mission (because she could not be ordained the board of missions would only support her work for one year), Jo becomes a ghost writer returning letters from fans for Lyon and Martin)  

Ministry to North Beach Fellowship


San Francisco Night Ministry

Central City Federal Poverty Research:  

Chuck Lewis worked with other Central City Pastors to create a federal poverty district in the Tenderloin and SOMA neighborhoods.  The pastors argued that the ramifications of being gay were equivalent to being a community of color and the area became the first mostly white neighborhood to receive poverty funds.  The programs created by these pastors continue to shape the life, ministry and service of San Francisco's Central City to this Day.  Here are a few of the documents used to make their case:

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