Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Golden Opportunity

By Theresa D. McClellan
"Gay Christian? Yes!"
Faith Advocacy Coordinator

When we started our "Gay Christian? Yes!" advertising campaign during Holy Week, some opponents quoted Scriptures to show why we were wrong. My faith tells me we are not wrong and our website is filled with resources showing examples of a God whose love is unconditional with arms wide open.

But starting May 20, those who say no, and those who know yes, will have an opportunity to learn more in a seven-week series titled,"What the Bible Really Says About Gay Christians (May Surprise You!"  

This series, led by the Rev.Bill Lyons of St. Johns Congregational United Church of Christ, is exactly the kind of work we were hoping to see come out of our advertising campaign - getting the conversation started in the community.

St. John's is one of the more than 30 churches on our growing list of gay-friendly churches to be found on our website. Rev. Lyons, 48, has offered to provide this seven week course which he says will be affirming to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Christians and also enlightening to those in the middle who have not made up their minds. The series will help those who believe one cannot be gay and Christian understand why they believe that. It will and also help those who who hear that message not to be dismayed, said Rev. Lyons.

The sessions are meant to create knowledge, dialogue, hope and mutual understanding with respectful dialogue while keeping everyone whole. 

This is an exciting opportunity for GIFT and the community. 

Rev. Lyons, who has more than 26 years experience as a pastor, has been honored for his biblical scholarship. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and a Master of Divinity in Christian Theology. He is a doctoral candidate at McCormick Theological Seminary. He said he is hopeful the series will also attract those who have questioned the theology behind the billboard message.

Rev. Lyons has three adult children. He and his partner of 11 years live in Grand Rapids.

The free seven-week 90 minute sessions will be held Sundays starting May 20-July 1, 2012 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at St. John's United Church of Christ, 1934 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.  The church is located where the corners of Bridge Street, Covell Street and Lake Michigan Drive meet.

I know I'm going. Hope to see you there!

To register for the free event or for more information, contact the church at 616-453-2497 or email them at

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