Monday, November 5, 2007

Open and Affirming

Posted by cheryl glenn on Mon, Nov 5, 2007 at 4:03 PM

As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, I sit in my office.... Which happens to be in a church. Yep.... I'm a lesbian who works in a church. I get a lot of questions about that. How does that work? Is that uncomfortable? Do they know? I explain that yes, my church knows who I am. They know my girlfriend is my girlfriend (not just a 'roommate') They know that by having me.... They get the whole me. Not just the me who plays guitar and sings. Not just the me who does graphic design. The whole me.... Who also just happens to be a lesbian.

Is it comfortable? Well, I tell you what.... There are some moments that are tense. There are some seasons (like we went through a few months back) when there are some members who questioned and there were some people who were uncomfortable. But then there are far more moments when the church truly acts as the Church. When the church loves me. The whole me. And this isn't just about me.... When the church loves all people the way that Christ would love all people.

And in some ways, when I think about this 'Holy City' and its many churches, I wonder just how many have truly open doors. Doors that all races, creeds, orientations, sizes and shapes are not intimidated by, but rather doors that are flung wide open. Inviting all to come in.

How many churches in our town (or honestly, in our world) seek to welcome all people into their houses of worship? Better yet, how many churches could my girlfriend and I walk into and feel completely comfortable and at ease? And isn't this the way it should be?

As my girlfriend and I flipped through the City Paper at lunch yesterday, we were struck by an ad placed by St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. It reads:

"Gay? Bi? Confused? Searching? Are you looking for a Church that celebrates diversity yet is united in the love of Jesus Christ? Do you feel unwelcome in a Church because of your sexuality? Do you feel that there is no place for you at the table? Come visit St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. A Church of gay, straight, black, white, young and not so young, rich and poor. An Episcopal Church in the heart of the city with traditional worship and a radical welcome!"

Wow. I was blown away. What an incredible ad! Even though my girlfriend and I are members of the church where I work it made me want to check this place out! And so it started the conversation of just which churches in our city are truly open and affirming of all people.

So, maybe you can help me out. Perhaps you have had an experience at a local church that you'd want to share.

Here's the shortlist we came up with.... Now it's your turn to add!

1) Metropolitan Community Church

2) Circular Congregational Church

3) Unitarian Church of Charleston

4) Open Door Church

5) St. Stephen's Episcopal Church


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