Gates Presbyterian ChurchGates Presbyterian Church
In the fall of 2017 the session of Gates Presbyterian Church began to explore meaningful conversations about how our congregation can practice more intentional welcome, including with our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) members. We invited a neighboring pastor, to come talk to the session about what it means to be a “More Light” church and about their church’s long involvement in being a welcoming congregation with the LGBTQ community.
In the January 2017, we introduced educational and conversation opportunities at GPC to hear God’s voice through the pages of scripture and in community. In February, we read and discussed Matthew Vines book “God and the Gay Christian.” During Lent a Second Hour gathering built on our theme “Transforming Faith” with a panel discussion led by parents whose children have come out as LGBTQ. We also heard from youth and members of our community who are LGBTQ and how much God’s love and acceptance extended at GPC has meant to them.
Our conversations of what it means to work to follow God’s call for welcome of all God’s beloved children is ongoing at GPC. The Christian Church has been a place of exclusion and pain for many in the LGBTQ community. We have heard from members and visitors looking for a new church community, that knowing we are LGBTQ affirming in an important statement of inclusion.
The session of GPC was excited to continue forward on this journey of how we can live into this commitment and focus the radical welcome of God’s love and what God is calling us to next. We acknowledged that in the Spring of 2018 when session voted to become a “ More Light Church” for many at GPC becoming a “More Light” Church was a “no brainer.” And others were thinking, “I thought we already were!” There were some who had questions. We continue the conversations, education and practice of intentional hospitality and working for justice for and with the LGBTQ community.