Diversity Equity Equality Belonging

Statement of Welcome

We welcome all who are seeking God’s love and grace.

We welcome all because God welcomes all.

We encourage young children to participate and make their presence known. We are many races and cultures, different sexual orientations, gender identities and families of various configurations and single people. We come from a wide variety of places on earth and individual spiritual journeys. We are various stages of life, differing abilities and health and economic circumstances. Our unity is in Christ who calls for us to reject division and discrimination.

Our scriptures affirm diversity:

26 "In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." 

- Galatians chapter three

Chrissie's temple talk for Pride Month 2024.

Learn more: 

Tedx Talk "The Bible and Sexuality"

Read more: "What does the Bible say about Homosexuality?"

A Sermon on "Trans Lives Matter"

Reconciling Works "Why can't church just say "All are Welcome!" and leave it at that?" 

Below is from St. Hugh's Elgin Illinois.  

What does the Bible say about homosexuality, same-sex attraction, & being transgender?

God loves LGBTQ people

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom 8:38) This message is for all people, including LGBTQ individuals.

God does not make mistakes in creating people. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14) Sexual identity and gender identity are components of a person’s personality, and as such are part of who God made each of us to be.

All people are justified through Christ, including LGBTQ people. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19), therefore, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1, 2). This is not to say that being LGBTQ is a sin, but if it were, it would certainly be forgiven.

All people have been intentionally created by God, including LGBTQ people. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

The over-arching themes of the Christian Bible are that God loves everyone and has reconciled everyone through Jesus Christ; this includes LGBTQ individuals. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “The world” means everyone, including LGBTQ people.

On Inclusion

God welcomes people of all genders and sexual identities. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Also “…God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) Jesus gladly socialized with people that the religious establishment disapproved of. (Matthew 9:11)

The Church needs its LGBTQ members. “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

The early church welcomed non-gender-conforming people. One of the first recorded baptisms by the apostles was of an Ethiopian eunuch. (Acts 8:27)

Jesus warned against using anti-gay slurs. The NIV translation of Matt 5:22 reads “anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court”. The original Greek text does not include “sister”, and the word “raca” is most likely a transliteration of the Aramaic word “rakkah”, which is the feminine form of the adjective that means “to be tender, weak, or soft”, so this would be comparable to calling a man a “sissy” (or worse). 

On Relationships

Love is a gift from God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

God made us to be in relationship with Him and with each other: "it is bad for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18) It would be inconsistent with God’s loving nature to create people who were gay and then condemn them to a life of loneliness. Heterosexual marriage is presented as an example (rather than a definition) of how God puts people in relationships; in Genesis 2:24: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The clause “that is why” points back to 2:18.

God creates community and families, uniting people together: "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:5). God can and does create unions with all types of people, including LGBTQ individuals.

Celibacy is good if one is called to it, but it is not for everyone (Mt. 19:11-12); marriage is good, too ("better to be married than to burn with passion," 1 Corinthians 7:9).

On Gender

All people, including LGBTQ individuals, were created in God’s image: "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27, NSRV) The use of the two primary genders in this passage is likely a “merism”, a figure of speech by which a single thing (in this case, humanity) is referred to by a phrase that lists several of its parts, but does not list all components. In the other creation passages, birds are mentioned as an example of animals that fly, but not bats; seas and land are mentioned, but not creeks or marshes; vegetation on land but no reference to algae.  This passage also indicates that God is not limited to a single gender.

People outside of the gender binary are valued by God: "For this is what the Lord says: 'To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant — to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.'" (Isaiah 56:4-5)

Jesus acknowledged that gender variance exists, and he did not condemn it. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:12) 

There are several characters in the Bible who were non-gender-conforming, meaning that they did not behave according to traditional gender roles, or that they were not physically typical of men or women. 

Jacob preferred to be with his mother at home, enjoyed cooking and was smooth-skinned, in contrast to his brother, who was hairy and preferred to hunt and be outdoors. (Genesis 25)

Joseph, Jacob’s son, was given an “ornate robe” by his father (Genesis 37:3); the Hebrew word used here for the robe (ketonet passim) is used elsewhere to mean “the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore” (2 Samuel 13:18).

Deborah (Judges 4-5) was a judge of Israel, acting as a prophet and military leader at a time when women were treated like property and valued by the number of children they could bear.

Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the palace women in the story of Esther, helped Esther to become queen. Ebed-Melech also was a eunuch, who saved the life of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38).

The man carrying a water jar, whom Jesus indicated would take the disciples to the room for his last supper, was doing work that was normally done by women, and yet was given this part to play in Jesus’ ministry (Luke 22:10).

The Bible contains feminine images of God, in addition to the masculine metaphors of “Father” and “King”. 

God’s wisdom in Proverbs is personified as female (Proverbs 1:20, 8:1, 9:1).

Many references to God describe actions associated with women: nurturing life in the womb (Psalm 139:13), giving birth (John 3:5-6), and protecting children (Matthew 23:37).

Many early interpreters believed that Adam was androgynous, representing aspects of the archetypical human. 

The Talmud recognizes six genders that are non-binary or intersex, in addition to male and female. 

Bible verses that have been used to condemn LGBTQ people

When seeking to understand any Bible verse, it is important to know the context of the verse, as well as how the verse has been translated from the original language. The following are points to consider when thinking about the verses that have been used to justify prohibitions on same-sex marriage and full participation in church community for LGBTQ people. Nowhere in the Bible, taken in its original language and context, is there a prohibition against loving, consensual same-sex relationships, nor against people living as their authentic genders.

Genesis 19:1-13 The Sodom & Gomorrah story is preceded by examples of Abraham and Lot being very welcoming to strangers. In Sodom, the townspeople's lack of hospitality and their desire to do violence to the visitors would have been considered grave transgressions. The reference in Jude 1:7 to “strange flesh” likely refers to the fact that the angels they wanted to assault were not human. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)

Leviticus 18:22 The NIV translation of this verse reads: “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” The literal translation of the original Hebrew, however, is less clear: “And with male you shall not lie lyings woman.” The word translated as “lyings” is found elsewhere only in Genesis 49:4, where it refers to incest. In Leviticus, this verse comes in a list of prohibitions against having sex with family members, so it is reasonable to conclude that it is a prohibition against incest.

Leviticus 20:13 Much of Leviticus is a warning not to adopt the customs of the inhabitants of the land the Israelites were entering. Temple prostitution involving both genders was common with Baal worship, so this passage was likely a prohibition against the sexual rites of the Canaanite religion. 

Romans 1:26-27 Here, Paul is condemning the sinful and harmful acts he perceives in Roman culture at the time. Since same-gender and non-heterosexual attractions occur naturally, this condemnation is not directed at LGBTQ people.

1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 The NIV translations of these verses read, respectively: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men . . .“ and “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, . . .”

The words translated as “homosexuals” and “men who have sex with men” more accurately translate to “men who sleep with enslaved male prostitutes”.  The word “homosexual” is not found in the Bible in translations written prior to 1948, implying that it was likely added as a result of the translators' own prejudices. 

Matthew 19:4 “Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’?" As noted for Gen 2:18 above, the point of the scripture Jesus quotes is that God made people to be in relationship, and Jesus then says “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mt 19:6). If God has given the gift of love to people of the same gender, no human should interfere.

Deuteronomy 22:5 The NIV translation reads: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” The word translated as “clothing” here, keli, is translated elsewhere as “armor”, and the word translated as “man”, geber, actually means “warrior”. This implies a prohibition against intent to deceive by pretending to be a warrior, or for a warrior to deceive by disguising himself as a woman.

Go to St. Hugh's page for more on these.