Maryland church celebrates 7 years of LGBTQA+ inclusion
SALISBURY, Md. – “Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor and we can’t love our neighbor if we’re denying them,” said James Yamakawa, a council member at the Faith Lutheran Church in Salisbury.
On Sunday, members of the Faith Lutheran Church in Salisbury celebrated 7 years of advocating for the LGBTQA community.
“This is about inclusion, about celebration and about solidarity,” said Yamakawa.
Church members say many LGBTQA people are marginalized because of who they are and are being turned away for being gay. So, members are pushing to lift them up as a Reconciling in Christ Congregation.
“I want people to know that they are invited, loved and encouraged to come just as they are and that the welcome that they get here will be genuine,” said Karen Price, church council president.
“I take comfort knowing that God loves me, that he’ll protect me and that he loves everyone else,” said Jason Dench, a church member.
“As the Beetles would say, all you need is love,” said Dench.
Jason Dench, a minister, says other churches did not fully accept his homosexuality, but the Faith Lutheran Church helped him live out his faith.
“It’s very difficult to be a gay person and me personally, being gay and a minister is twice as hard and I get a lot of people being very hateful,” said Dench.
“They’re like, oh you don’t need to be a pastor because you’re gay and I’m like, excuse me, but God created me this way,” said Dench.
And ultimately, members at the Faith Lutheran Church say this celebration for LGBTQA people is part of a larger mission they believe God is calling them to do.
“So, it’s not accepting, it’s just simply doing what we’re supposed to do,” said Yamakawa.
The celebration also included testimonies as well as some delicious colorful desserts. Organizers say members of Salisbury PFLAG also participated in the festivities.