Last week the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources, Family Equality Council and COLAGE launched a multimedia, LGBT family-inclusive faith curriculum called All in God's Family: Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families. (Click here to read our joint press release.)
Since then, we've been asking LGBT parents and allies to share stories with us about their faith communities. Are they already welcoming and inclusive? What do they do to make your family feel embraced? What could they do better?
I got an email from Sharon of Naperville, IL this morning. She wanted to tell us about her welcoming and affirming church:
"My partner, Janice and I, were church shopping in Naperville, IL in the early 1990's. Some close friends of my partner attended First Congregational Church in Naperville which is a United Church of Christ church so we checked it out. On our first visit, a member came up to us wearing a pink triangle pin so we asked him why he was wearing it and it was outreach to GLBT people to let them know the church is inclusive."
The simple act of wearing a pink triangle, a symbol of the LGBT community, sparked Sharon and Janice's interest and signaled to them that a welcoming door was open.
"We've been attending ever since. We have 9 year old twins now and I teach Sunday school and am co-leader of our Christian Education Ministry. We feel we are part of our church family in every way. Right when we joined the church, they were in the process of trying to become open and affirming which we did become the following year. Every member's name tag has a rainbow on it and we recently employed a lesbian Youth and Family pastor. There are 2 other lesbian families and a couple of GLBT couples in our congregation. Our sign outside the building has a rainbow with the words 'We are open and affirming' on it."
Now that Sharon and Janice's family are settled in their own welcoming and affirming church, they're helping others become move along the path.
"We are helping my partner's sister, Jackie, help her UCC church become open and affirming. I am passing [All in God's Family] onto her."
Want to use All in God's Family as a resource in your faith community, or pass it on to someone you know? Click here to learn more and order your copy today.
Cross-posted at the Family Equality Council Blog.