An LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Fellowship
This congregation was started by members of the LGBTQIA+ community to serve the needs of our community. It will always be open to the LGBTQIA+ community and welcoming to all people. This is a community space for all people to explore the leadings of the Holy Spirit, to experience God's sanctifying purpose, to be inspired by the teachings of Jesus and of the scriptures.
Jesus was criticized for the company he kept. He was considered immoral because he attended the parties of those who were looked down upon by polite society. His disciples were uneducated, poor, unruly, and cynical; yet Christ chose them to lead his Church. The first century church was a place for society's outcasts. It was a place of healing where they could be restored to relationship with God and their community.
Jesus did not always get along with his biological family, an experience with which many can relate. He called his found family, his followers, his 'mother and brothers.' We consider all Christians to be our family. We respect one another's pronouns and call each other brother, sister, or sibling.
Why are we an inclusive fellowship?
Because "the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered fish of every kind."
What Does a Church Have to Offer the LGBTQIA+ Community?
A church makes a much better community center than a bar, nightclub, cafe, or park. People come to church as they are, baggage and all. Everyone is welcome. A church is able to be a true community center, a wholesome place where people can come and meet, host a party or a game night, find a quiet corner to study or do homework. A church can be so many things a for-profit business cannot.
One of the best things a church can be is inclusive.
Many people struggle with issues like addiction, disability, and homelessness. They may not be welcome in a bar or cafe; they would be welcome at a church. Many of our old neighborhood gay bars are closing or becoming nightclubs. These may suit the needs of able-bodied adults, but exclude the elderly, underage, disabled, and those struggling with addiction. Anyplace that expects you to spend money while you are there excludes the poor. A church is supported by its members and does not expect you to spend money, just come and enjoy being part of the community. Finally, a church offers a place to get out of the weather. Many people struggle to keep their homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Why not get out for a bit and save on your energy bill?
Of course, all of this assumes a space that is open more often than just Sunday mornings. And that means higher operating costs for the church. This is not where we are at yet as a church; this is our goal. We won't be sending missionaries across the globe, or sponsoring other churches. Our goal is to enrich the life of our local community, to "brighten the corner where we are."
This congregation recognizes only the one true and living God. We come to understand the will of God by the teaching of his son, Jesus, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We recognize the ordination to priesthood of all Christians, and the individual revelation of the Holy Spirit.
All matters of doctrine are considered to be between each individual and God alone. We do not accept any earthly doctrine, creed, or canon of scripture as authoritative for everyone. We do not have a proscriptive theology, meaning that doctrine is not handed-down by leadership but arises organically from the consensus of the membership.
We recognize as scripture those texts considered scripture by Jesus, works which can be reliably considered original teachings of Jesus, or which can be reliably attributed to original Apostolic authorship. Such works are considered inspired by and bear witness to the infallible Word of God. The extent to which the Bible is considered to fulfill these requirements is a matter of individual faith.
We embrace simplicity and plainness as a way of promoting fellowship, focusing on our calling, and living our values. We do not spend money on rich furnishings. We sing acapella (without instruments) as a way to stand with the poor and remember the early church, which had little.
History of the Churches of Christ
The churches of Christ as they exist today came out of the Campbell-Stone Restoration Movement of the early 1800's. The goal of this movement was to unify all Christians. While previous movements sought to 'reform' the traditions of the medieval Catholic church, the Restorationists sought to 'restore' the church as founded by Christ, as it existed in the First Century. This difference in approach means that while many denominations base their beliefs on a mix of traditions, creeds, and scripture, the churches of Christ turn to the scripture alone as the basis of doctrine.
Just like the church of the first century, the churches of Christ today are host to a great diversity of different beliefs on nearly every point of theology. Even the members of a congregation may hold beliefs that are entirely at odds. But each believer trusts that the Spirit leads them and sanctifies them to the truth in God's own time. This allows the congregation to function as a safe space where each person can explore their own faith and beliefs while respecting the faith of others.