Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LGBT and Christian Communities Seek Common Ground

The work at General Assembly is really about Nick Koberstein, a freshman at the University of Illinois, who wanted to find a church in which he could be open about his sexual orientation and be fully accepted. Fortunately for Nick, there is such a place in Champaign, Illinois.
Like the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church has a process and a title for individual parishes to become more welcoming to the LGBT community.

McKinley Memorial Presbyterian Church, 809 S. Fifth St., is a More Light Presbyterian church — part of a program whose mission is “to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church,” according to the More Light website.

“For us, there’s much more focus on the spirit of the law than on the letter of the law,” the Rev. Keith Harris, associate pastor for campus ministry said.

Although McKinley has been a More Light Presbyterian church since the 1980s, not all Presbyterian churches are this way. Harris said the denomination as a whole is continuing to struggle with answering whether being a pastor and a member of the LGBT community negates their ministry.

People that are openly gay or lesbian are currently not allowed to serve as ministers in the church, but discussion is taking place among church authorities about whether this should be changed, Harris said.

Yet Harris said to only highlight McKinley's open stance on the LGBT community would be to overlook the real purpose of the church as he sees it.

“It’s more to reach out in the name of love and justice to people in need,” Harris said.

No comments:

Post a Comment