Do gays really need a church of their own anymore?

Here’s an interesting article by AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll highlighting the work of the Metropolitan Community Churches denomination. Most of you know this movement as the first real gay friendly denomination.  This is an interesting article because it gives, from their perspective, the advances that the church has made in the area of homosexuality.  Here’s a bit of the piece:

On that Sunday in 1968 when Troy Perry borrowed a minister’s robe and started a church for gays in his living room, the world was a very different place.

Perry’s Metropolitan Community Churches was then a lone spiritual refuge for openly gay Christians, an idea so far from the mainstream that the founders were often chased from places where they tried to worship. Four decades later, some of the most historically important American denominations, which had routinely expelled gays and lesbians, are welcoming them instead.

MCC now has a presence in dozens of U.S. states as well as overseas, reporting a total membership of more than 240 congregations and ministries. But as acceptance of same-sex relationships grows — gay and lesbian clergy in many Protestant traditions no longer have to hide their partners or lose their careers, and Christians can often worship openly with their same-gender spouses in the mainline Protestant churches where they were raised — the fellowship is at a crossroads.

Is a gay-centered Christian church needed anymore?

“There are many more options than there used to be,” said the Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator, or leader, of the Metropolitan Community Churches. “But there is not a mass exodus.”

The denomination has never been gays-only. But for a long time, straight allies were scarce.

The founding congregation, MCC of Los Angeles, opened a year before the Stonewall riots in New York. Few people had ever heard the argument that the Bible sanctioned same-gender relationships and no one of any influence in the religious world was saying it. MCC congregations became targets of arson, violence, pickets and, in at least one case, a vice squad.

Al Smithson, a founder in 1969 of the fellowship’s San Diego church, said his pastor would point to Orange County’s famous Crystal Cathedral and joke that he was praying for a bulletproof version.

The church today is a bit more diverse. MCC pastors say they see a growing number of straight friends and relatives of gays and lesbians among their new congregants, along with heterosexual parents who want their children raised in a gay-affirming environment. While some MCC congregations haven’t changed much over the decades, Wilson said, many are emphasizing a broad social justice agenda including serving the homeless and poor.

// Read more here…

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  • David Sheffield January 10, 2013 Reply

    I believe Gays need a church the same way I believe drunks, adulterers, liars, and any other sinner needs a church. For a place to meet Jesus face-to-face and be cleansed from their sin. The last thing they need is a church that will tell them that their sin is okay with scripture. They, like any other sinner, need a church that will love them, but love them enough show them the error of their ways without subjecting them to wrath. What homosexuals need is the love of Christ,not the wrath of the Church. But they also don’t need a church that will tell them their sin is okay either.

    • Rev. Francois Diobblo January 16, 2013 Reply

      I completely agree with David Sheffield. As all other sinners, homosexuals need the gospel of grace(Titus 2:11). But you should insist that grace, as stated in Titus 2:12-13, grace does not condone living in sinful style of life, but it calls us to repent and change. What church needs is not to hate gays and lesbians, but to genuinely love them, showing them that God is willing to set them free, as He does with all other sinners, that were born. But if they refuse to repent, we don’t need to hide from them that God’s wrath awaits all unrepentant sinners.

      • David Sheffield January 16, 2013 Reply

        I like your response Rev. Diobblo,
        I especially like the way you said, “What church needs…” So many times we want to tell the homosexual what they need to do, but how often do we remind ourselves of what our response should be? If we don’t respond with love and the grace as defined in Titus, we risk being thought of as Westboro Baptist types and that is so far from Christ-likeness that it is Satanic.
        Thank you for your reminder, I loved it!

  • I agree, the fact that gays swill so as they wish any way if e don’t help them is too true. they need serious people to help them believe God delivers he sets them free and he uses them for His glory.

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