AFFIRMING SPIRITUAL HOMES
By Kevin E. Taylor
There are affirming ministries throughout the U.S. and around the globe. In order to best organize those churches that have been public in their outreach, we have assembled a listing of affirming denominations in order to provide you with options if you are seeking sanctuary in your area.
Unity Fellowship Church Movement, Inc.
Founded by Archbishop Carl Bean in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA; led by House of Bishops including Senior Bishop Zachary G. Jones (Jurisdiction 2, headquartered in NYC); Bishop Jacquelyn D. Holland (Jurisdiction 3, headquartered in Charlotte, NC) and Bishop Harris Thomas (Jurisdiction 4, headquartered in Baltimore, MD).
Unity Fellowship Church, Los Angeles (UFCLA) was founded by then Reverend Carl Bean for openly gay and lesbian African Americans. The first meetings were held in the private residence of Rev. Bean, on Cochran Avenue in Los Angeles. In 1984, a reorganization took place in the last residence of the late Archbishop William Morris O’Neill, located on South Burnside Avenue (also the ordination site of our founder). Weekly Bible studies then moved to the home of Deacon Christine Tripp.
UFCLA received its nonprofit status in 1985. The first UFCLA public worship service was at the Cockatoo Inn on Hawthorne Blvd in Inglewood. It was then decided by the membership to move the worship service to a more central location, so that it would be more accessible to those on public transportation. The new location was the Ebony Showcase Theatre on Washington Boulevard, which was an integral part of the culture of the Black community. Public worship continued at the Ebony Showcase Theater until 1988. It was then that Unity Fellowship Church purchased its first property, and moved to West Jefferson Boulevard. The Unity Fellowship Church Movement (UFCM) was registered in 1990 as a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, headquartered at the Jefferson Boulevard site. Presently, the UFCM network is far reaching with various national departments, urban outreach ministries, the national mass choir, periodicals and constituency-based programs nationwide, with churches in California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia and in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
The Fellowship is a coalition of Christian churches and ministries which recognize the need for networking, accountability, fellowship and resource facilitation. We are a trans-denominational fellowship that in voluntary cooperation is self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. Our mission is to become a catalytic resource agent for the unity and support of churches and ministries who desire to celebrate and proclaim the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ. Our key concern is that every member be provided with the necessary tools to mature the individual call and the vision of inclusivity as understood by each member. Through the unification of networking of our collective member resources The Fellowship can assist all of the churches and ministries in the fulfillment of their respective roles in the Body of Christ.
Founded in 2000 by Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, the overriding purpose of The Fellowship is to support religious teachers and laity in moving towards a theology of radical inclusivity which, by its very nature, requires an equally radical social ministry, reaching to the furthest margins of society to serve all in need without prejudice and discrimination. The assemblage of churches is across the United States of America and now throughout Africa and now exploring new works in Asia.
UNITED PROGRESSIVE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
Presiding Prelate Bishop O.C. Allen
The United Progressive Pentecostal Church (UPPC) Fellowship is a global ministry through The Vision Church International. The affiliated churches of UPPC are strong in their presence across the South, from Tennessee to Texas, and Florida; spreading across the country to California and headquartered in Georgia.
The purpose of the United Progressive Pentecostal Church Fellowship of Churches (UPPC) is to provide an alliance for like-minded pastors and leaders that embrace the Vision Kingdom Agenda philosophy; which is the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life as reflected in the individual, family, church and society.
UPPC is not a denomination, but a “Kingdom-focused” fellowship rooted in spiritual accountability and ministry nurturing. We are an alliance of pastors and churches which seek to provide spiritual covering and support for its members.
The UPPC’s objective is to provide its members with spiritual covering, practical biblical education, technical support and tools for developing churches and their outreach ministry. UPPC principles seeks to transform the world from the inside out. We welcome Churches, women and men of God who are Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors and leaders regardless of church size, denominational background or affiliation, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
The UPPC was birthed out of a fusion of traditional Pentecostalism and the progressive move of the Holy Spirit, due to a fresh move of God’s Spirit in the specific work of founder, Bishop O.C. Allen III, and the Vision Church of Atlanta. From its humble beginning with 12 members in 2004, The Vision Church experienced explosive growth with a membership of 1500. Through Bishop O.C. Allen’s leadership and the anointed ministry of The Vision Church of Atlanta, other Churches and Pastors have sought spiritual covering and nurturing.
LGBTQ Faith Leaders of African Descent
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and same gender loving people of African descent and their allies formed to serve as ambassadors and educators to oppose discrimination, exclusion, or intimidation of LGBT persons in our society and particularly in our church communities.
What We Propose To Do:
- Provide accurate information and encourage frank dialogue to educate and advocate for the rights of LGBT people in the Black community;
- Work with clergy, lay leaders and all members of faith community to provide information and knowledge regarding the Black LGBT community;
- Work with family members, professionals, and agencies involved with LGBT adults, youth, and seniors;
- Organize, conduct and lead community meetings, and informational workshops;
- Make videos and use print media to advocate and educate regarding the needs of LGBT people in the Black community.
A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice
As a Black church movement for gay and transgender justice, we envision a community that embraces the diversity of the human family and ensures that all are treated with love, compassion, and justice. Black gay and transgender people are too often case studies in discrimination, shame, hardship, insecurity and isolation.
Job insecurity and other financial threats, lack of legal protections, discrimination in employment and housing, heightened violence due to gender non-conformity—all these and more can be a daily reality. The Black church, historically a crucible for social change, has been strangely silent and unavailable to confront or address the inequalities and injustices experienced by LGBT people and their families.
Many Voices envisions a Black church and community that embrace the diversity of the human family and ensures that all are treated with love, compassion, and justice.
To fulfill that vision, we are transforming the inaccurate narrative that the entire Black church is negative.
We raise the voices of Black gay and transgender Christians who, despite rejection and condemnation, contribute so much. And we equip and bring forward influential Black leaders to demonstrate that support for LGBT equality and justice is deeply rooted in the Black religious experience and entirely consistent with being Christian.
Once the narrative of a monolithic church has been repudiated, the silence will be broken, allowing space for a new, thoughtful dialogue about fairness, equality, and justice for everyone.