Most major cities have one or more churches with a primary outreach to the gay and lesbian citizens of the area, and these churches serve important roles in the community in which they specialize.
Whether part of the mostly-gay Metropolitan Community Church denomination or completely independent, these religious organizations serve many of the same roles as traditional churches — and other roles as well.
In addition, they often serve vital roles in the lives of the people who depend on their services and call these places their church home.
Here are four ways gay and lesbian churches benefit the gay and lesbian community in the city they serve.
While not every gay church has its own building or meeting space, many of them do. This space is often made available to other related organizations, including gay political organizations, Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction support groups and AIDS services organizations.
Many of these other groups wouldn’t be able to afford space of their own, but having a gay and lesbian church in the community could mean always having a place to meeting.
Gay and lesbian churches often keep office hours and answer their phones regularly. That means that members of the community have somewhere to turn when they want to talk to someone — and members of the media have a place to go for comments on local and national issues.
Leaders of gay and lesbian churches are sometimes the most visible leaders in a city’s gay community, serving as both role models and points of contact within the community and for those wanting to make contact with others like them.
Like other churches, predominately gay and lesbian churches often have support groups, classes and group meetings of their own throughout the week. These meetings help people cope with the stresses of daily life and the unique problems of being a member of the gay and lesbian community.
Mainline churches have a long history of providing financial support to a city’s most needy citizens, and gay churches often serve that role as well.
Being a strong and visible presence in a gay and lesbian community also provides a sense of community to people who sometimes feel left out of society.
Once again, providing community is also a common role of other kinds of churches as well.
Finding A Gay and Lesbian Church
Locating a gay and lesbian church is usually easy since they’re so visible, but not every church is easy to find. The first step is getting acquainted with the city’s gay and lesbian community. If there are several mostly gay churches in a city, the next step is choose one that’s a good fit.
While there is no directory of independent churches, those that are a member of Metropolitan Community Churches are listed on the denomination’s website.
Gay and lesbian churches are often as respected in their communities as mainline churches are in the community at large. They serve important roles that can’t be ignored.