Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tennessee: Married Lesbians Upset After Nondenominational Christian Church Rejects Them From Membership

I came across this article from the Knox News about a married lesbian couple and their children who got involved with an anti-gay nondenominational church called Faith Promise back in November 2016. The church welcomed and embraced them. They became more invested in their new church family and Christian faith. In January 2018, they were eventually baptized.

Then they met with the church's pastor. He told them that they would not be allowed to become "core members" of the church. Instead, they were only allowed limited membership because they are a married lesbian couple. They were encouraged to remain at the church, but they wouldn't be allowed to actually do much but attend services and give money.

Not surprisingly, the women left and never returned. According to the article, they understood that the Faith Promise believed in only heterosexual marriage. But nobody actually sat down with them in the many months that they'd been attending that their marriage would bar them from membership and that their involvement would always be limited.

This is why I completely support churches that actually say upfront that they don't support LGBTQ people and our families. Why not tell us right away so that we can leave before we become emotionally invested in the community?

By the same token, I really encourage LGBTQ people who want to get involved with a faith community to seek out affirming Christian church communities. No church is perfect and not every church is a good fit for every person. But surely there is an affirming church in your community that would warmly embrace you and welcome each and every gift that you have to offer their church.

For example, I attend a small LGBTQ affirming UCC congregation in Iowa City. We have gay, lesbian, and bi members within our congregation. We have had gay and lesbian pastors in the past. LGBTQ members are invited and welcomed to serve in all areas of the church. We can be greeters or ushers. We can organize worship services. We can serve on Council. We can represent the church during denominational events. There is not even a suggestion that we would reject any willing offer.

I'm not saying that Faith Promise is a horrible church. I am saying that it doesn't sound like a good church of same-sex families. In fact, many churches are not good churches for same-sex families. And that is why LGBTQ people of faith and our families need to seek out and support church communities that actually do welcome and affirm our contributions and our individual faith journeys.

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