In what is believed to be a first in Western Maryland, an openly gay minister who is married to his male partner was installed on Feb. 17 as pastor of Grace United Church of Christ in Frederick, Md.
Rev. Dr. Rob Apgar-Taylor said he believes the LGBT supportive church took its commitment to equality to a “new level” last November when its leaders selected him as the new pastor, becoming the first church in the area to take that step.
“I first came to know the people of Grace Church three years ago after being asked to preach when their interim pastor was on vacation,” Apgar-Taylor said. “I was immediately struck by their graciousness” and “warmth and acceptance,” he said.
He said he was later invited to preside over a same-gender wedding renewal for a gay male couple who attended the church and who were legally married in D.C.
“Without even thinking about any negative implications in the community, the church said yes and I was honored to celebrate that ceremony,” he said.
Apgar-Taylor has been a minister for 24 years. He received his Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in D.C. and his Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.
He and his husband, Rob Apgar, were married in Massachusetts in 2004.