February 21, 2013 at 7:57 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay minister installed as pastor in Frederick, Md.
Rob Apgar-Taylor, Rob Apgar, Washington Blade, gay news, Grace United Church of Christ, Frederick, Maryland

Rev. Rob Apgar-Taylor and Rob Apgar (Photo by Corey Clarke)

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.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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