First Presbyterian ChurchFirst Presbyterian Church
For years, our church has informally become more and more open to the open engagement of LGBTQ in all areas of our church’s life. That began 12 years when a same sex couple came requesting baptism for their daughter. From that point forward people got to know the couple, and especially Jeannie, who became a leader in our children’s ministry. Then when the nominating committee selected Jeannie to become a Deacon, it seemed the most natural thing to do. Soon after, a gay man named Brian joined the church, and became so involved that the nominating committee not only nominated him as an elder, but as the treasurer of the church. Later, another same sex couple joined the church, and one member of that couple, Carlos became so involved in the life of the church that the nominating committee asked him to become an elder. Soon after, Carlos asked to explore his call to ministry, and the Session enthusiastically endorsed his candidacy. Then two years ago, as we searched to fill a new position, God led us to a gay man as the best candidate. When James joined our staff, he led our church to the next step. Up to that point, we had been a sort of closeted congregation. Folks within the church knew of our openness to LGBTQ people, and when we redesigned our website, we included language that indicated our openness to full inclusion. But when Pride Month came in 2018, we decided to come out by flying the Rainbow flag as part of a number of flags that we fly on one part of our campus (flags rotate there as different emphases in the church’s life occur). That decision did not come without some controversy, and some members left because they wished our church to remain “closeted.” But the Session felt that the time had come, and even as those members left, God brought new ones. So officially becoming a More Light congregation felt like the most natural step after that whole journey. And we feel grateful to God to be able to take this next step.