Striving Together to Make Congregations LGBT-Welcoming
October 28, 2011
by Bradley Osborn
Looking in from the outside. Wanting to hear the message but pushed to the margins. Perceived as a sinner by broader society. This was the position of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke. At Welcoming: The Event, speaker Minister Gerald Palmer compared the New Testament tax collector’s perspective to that of LGBT people of faith in our modern society.
Welcoming: The Event was an outreach by the Kansas City Coalition for Welcoming Ministries (KCCWM) held on Sept. 26 at Trinity United Methodist Church. Palmer, founder of Word for the Soul Ministries, spoke first. He followed his Zacchaeus analogy with a brief explanation about how he came to be an LGBT ally. His approach is non-denominational, built on the African American faith tradition but ultimately inclusive of all persons.
The Rev. Kurt Krieger, senior pastor at Spirit of Hope MCC and secretary of KCCWM, then told the group about his denomination’s history and his personal calling to the ministry. MCC (Metropolitan Community Churches) is unique among the coalition in that it was founded intentionally as a gay and lesbian-affirming church. Other institutional member churches are generally main-line Protestant denominations that have made conscious decisions to reverse past discrimination against LGBT people. All faiths are welcome at KCCWM, and both clergy and laypeople may join.
After Krieger spoke, KCCWM president John Leakey took questions from the crowd, then closed the event.
The coalition is a network of interfaith, welcoming organizations that promotes dialogue, education and support. It helps to connect LGBTQ-affirming or welcoming ministries and people, as well as those who are working toward the goal of becoming welcoming or affirming of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
For membership information or to learn more about KCCWM and its work, visit its website: kccoalition.org.
The coalition has recently introduced its Clergy Collegium, a monthly tea and coffee meeting among pastors of LGBTQ-affirming ministries and their LGBTQ pastoral colleagues who are affiliated with non-welcoming congregations. Confidence is often key for the latter group, and support is offered in the collegium, which meets in various locations on the third Thursday of each month. Call Krieger at 816-931-0750 for details.
Kansas City Coalition for Welcoming Ministries
6:30 p.m. fourth Monday of each month
Trinity United Methodist Church
620 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.
Coffee and tea support among clergy
10 a.m. third Thursday of each month at various locations.
Call Krieger at 816-931-0750 for details.
Camp’s List of Welcoming Congregations