My ministry and my faith is based upon one action, and that action is LOVE. Many of us try to love always and hate never, but ultimately we most likely at one time or another end up showing hatred. Unfortunately, in this world hate seems to be more prevalent than love. Let me offer one tip for each and every one of us – Let love be your compass!
Love is never wrong, and love has no limits. If we all completely filled ourselves with love and no hate, we would see no war, much less suffering, much more hospitality, and equality for all. We are all children of God; no matter who you are, no matter what your religion is, you are a child of god, and we are all loved unconditionally and limitlessly by Him. Since God loves us so much just how he created us (Caucasian, African American, Central American, European, Gay, Straight, Tall, Short, Male, Female, Transgender, etc.) then why don’t we all love one another unconditionally and endlessly. Why don’t we all love and support one another always? Please, don’t hate! In my ministry, my number one tenant is GOD IS LOVE and LOVE IS NEVER WRONG! If you let love be your compass, you are letting God be your compass. Always follow love, because love is never wrong.
One of the best support methods for us in the LGBT community is finding an Affirming Church. You don’t have to go to church to love God, you don’t even have to be a Christian to love God. In return, no matter who you are, no matter what you believe, God loves you so much! Affirming churches will help raise your self-esteem, they become family to you, they support you and love you unconditionally, just as God does! God made you LGBT on purpose- you are NOT broken, you are NOT wrong! Here is a current list of affirming denominations. You can also check out the website gaychurch.org for a complete directory as well as many amazing LGBT resources. Some individual congregations will vary in opinions; however these denominations official positions are affirming and support ALL LOVE and EQUALITY.
LIST OF LARGER AFFIRMING CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS
1. The United Church of Christ (UCC). One of the most inclusive and loving denominations in the Country. Make sure it is UNITED Church of Christ, since if you leave out united it is a completely different denomination. The United Church of Christ was the first major affirming protestant denomination in the United States
2. The Episcopal Church. Another extremely welcoming denomination.
3. Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America (ELCA Lutheran). The ELCA is very welcoming. Avoid the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) Lutheran churches; they are for the most part very homophobic. The ELCA is the largest Lutheran body in the United States
4. Presbyterian Churches USA (PCUSA). The largest Presbyterian body in the United States.
5. Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
6. Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). You will find these amazing churches in larger cities. This denomination was founded by the LGBT community. These churches are filled with
List of smaller affirming denominations
1. Anthem Phoenix and Family Churches
2. Anointed Affirming Independent Ministries
3. Community of Christ
4. Reconciling Pentecostals International
5. Affirming Pentecostal Church International
6. Association of Welcoming and affirming Baptists
7. Ecumenical Catholic Church
8. Ecumenical Catholic Communion
9. Evangelical Anglican Church in America
10. Friends General Conference (Quaker)
11. Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
12. Inclusive Orthodox Church
13. Old Catholic Church
14. Progressive Christian Alliance
15. Reformed Anglican Catholic Church
16. Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (LDS Mormon)
17. Unity Church
18. Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (Large, but in Canada)
19. United Church of Canada (Large, but in Canada)
20. Congregationalist Churches (Many are affirming, varies based on the congregation)
1. Reform Judaism
2. Reconstructionist Judaism
3. Conservative Judaism
4. Unitarian Universalism
Honorable Mentions, but not yet affirming
1. The United Methodist Church- I am praying that they will become affirming in the next few years. The Northern Methodists tend to be more affirming, while the southern Methodists tend to not be.
2. National Baptist Convention – A predominately African American Baptist denomination, each congregation varies.
Here are some LGBT Affirming Resources
3. http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/ (United Church of Christ)
4. http://www.integrityusa.org/ (Episcopal Church)
5. http://www.reconcilingworks.org/ (ELCA Lutheran)
6. http://www.mlp.org/ (Presbyterian Church USA)
7. http://mccchurch.org (Metropolitan Community Churches)
8. http://gladalliance.org (Christian Church-Disciples of Christ)
9. http://www.umaffirm.org/ (United Methodist)
10. http://www.rmnetwork.org/ (United Methodist)
One of my favorite ministry figures is Bishop Carlton Pearson. He is an amazing man, who truly spreads Gods unconditional and endless love. He has many books and writings that if you have the opportunity should check out, including one titled “The gospel of Inclusion” No matter who you are, no matter what your religion is, God loves you. God created you how you are on purpose. We are all created by God how we are on purpose (Caucasian, African American, Male, Female, Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, Straight, etc.) All of our Differences, Given to us by God, are what make us special! I am a Progressive Christian, and Member of The United Church of Christ. Mr. Pearson is a Former United Church of Christ minister; however he is now a Christian Universalist Bishop. I want to explain what Christian Universalism is; This amazing, inclusive branch of Christianity is based on Unconditional love for everyone, and the best part is, there is no formal membership process. You are a member if you want to be, simple as that. I truly wish Mr. Pearson broadcasted television sermons. His wonderful message of love is truly inspiring and enlightening. Above all else, the number one message that I want to get through is that we are All God’s children; we are all beautiful in God’s eyes. My personal message is to never hate, no matter what. I have personally been persecuted for being LGBT, how God created me, by my own classmates, one in particular. A while back, I called her out in a Facebook status, and I want to use this opportunity to apologize for doing that. While Homophobic, Racist, Sexist, etc. people upset me, it is wrong for me to call them out. My message is love - Love all unconditionally, no matter what. If someone treats you poorly, walk away. Don’t hate them, LOVE THEM! If someone throws a rock at you, DO NOT throw it back. Show them that you are filled with love, not hate. God loves you, and God loves everyone. My dream is to see a fully inclusive, all loving world that has no war, no hate, and Unlimited Unconditional love. Is this possible, I say yes. Why? Because with God, all things are possible! We are all the Same, we are all God’s children, so let’s step forward together, as his children, and make a commitment to Eradicating hate and spreading unconditional love and Inclusion around the world.