An LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Fellowship
This congregation was started by members of the LGBTQIA+ community and our allies to serve the spiritual needs of our community.
We especially support those who have been harmed by toxic religion. We denounce systems of dominance and exclusion and all forms of hierarchy including authoritarianism, ableism, racism, patriarchy, and heteronormitivity.
The church of Christ is a place for questions. Everyone is welcome and no one is judged.
This is an inclusive fellowship 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. We respect one another's pronouns and call each other brother, sister, or sibling.
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.
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."
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."
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. We respect one another's pronouns and call each other brother, sister, or sibling.
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.
When we first started meeting, we didn't have a logo. It didn't seem a very high priority. Most churches of Christ don't have logos; in fact, most churches of Christ don't even have names. We only had a name out of necessity; you can't be the "H Street Church of Christ" when you meet in a different member's house every week. Three weeks into having meetings on Sundays, I was asked by the members to make a logo so we could print T-shirts to promote the church.
My first attempt at a logo was well received... for another three weeks. However, some were disappointed that it didn't include the colors from the Transgender Pride flag. Once it was pointed out, we were all disappointed.
I immediately went back to work and tried a number of different ways to incorporate the larger color palette into the existing logo. But no matter what I tried, it just wouldn't work. The bands were too thin, the white stripe didn't work on certain backgrounds. and adding the black and brown stripes from the Progress Pride flag seemed like a pipe dream.
Once I had the idea to add the black and brown stripes, I knew I had to start over. I tried overlaying the Progress Pride flag over the cross, but the geometry was all wrong. The chevron of the flag looked odd against the cross no matter how it was rotated or adjusted.
I thought about our community, how we are all so very different, more a community of communities. I divided up the cross into intersecting rainbows. I started with the rainbow going one way and pink, blue, white, black, and brown stripes going the other. The colors clashed. So the logo became intersecting rainbows, with the chevron of the Progress Pride flag transformed into a heart, because God is Love.
I introduced the new logo to the church. Immediately someone pointed out that it was missing the Intersex logo.
I pray we will always be the kind of church that chafes at the thought of leaving anyone out! Hopefully it gets the message across that God is Love and God loves you.