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There are churches for many kinds of people, but not a lot that fully accept and embrace LGBTQ. However, one Dallas church has been serving the gay community for decades, and it’s grown to become the biggest LGBTQ church in the world with 4,500 members. They’ve been conducting marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples for decades.
“It’s a unique phenomenon, unprecedented, unachieved anywhere else,” said Jim Mitulski, the interim senior pastor at Cathedral of Hope. “We are a gay church sociologically. I think equally important, we’re a progressive church committed to liberation causes with spirituality as the source of our inspiration.”
Roughly 90 percent of the church’s membership are gay or lesbian, and it stands out in a state full of mega-churches that aren’t always welcoming.
“The message I had from all the naysayers in my life, parents, individuals and church leaders, who said that this was something that could be cured out of me,” said Brittany McCormick, who’s been attending the church for 6 months. “When I walked into the doors here, it was just open arms from every aspect of my life,” she said.
As for passages of the Bible that seem to prohibit homosexuality, Mitulski points to a number of concepts that are no longer mainstream.
“It has a sexist and a racial bias, and a cultural bias that has been exploited by people who want to justify their position of privilege on the basis of class and gender,” he said. “But that’s not true to the whole story. The Jesus story, to me, is about changing lives and about changing society and crossing boundaries and challenging authority.”
The church also reaches out to LGBT Latino youth. They hold weekly services in Spanish and say 70-percent of that congregation is under 30.
“It’s important to feel like you are loved not just by God but by the community, because we suffer a lot of discrimination in a lot of levels,” said Alberto Magaña, Latino congregation pastor.
Credit: Bradley Blackburn and Joanna Suarez