October 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Baptist church ‘affirms’ LGBT inclusion
First Baptist Church, gay news, Washington Blade

First Baptist Church of Washington (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Members of D.C.’s First Baptist Church located at 1328 16th St., N.W., affirmed on Sept. 24 through a “discernment action” that LGBT members of the congregation should be fully included and involved in the life of the church, according to a statement church officials released last week.

“A clear majority of members present and participating in the action (78.5 percent) affirmed a statement that supported LGBT members’ ‘full participation in the life of our community,’” the statement says.

It adds that the action means LGBT members of the church would be “fully eligible to participate in the ordinances, blessings, benefits and responsibility of church membership – including communion, baptism, marriage, ordination, parent/child dedications, and all offices and positions of leadership.”

The statement quotes Senior Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell as saying, “First Baptist Church has affirmed that being open and inclusive of all people, without exception, is part of the essential character of our community of faith. Our welcome extends to every person, as does the welcome of Christ.”

It says the action on Sunday, Sept. 24, “capped a years-long journey of prayer, Scripture study and small-group discussions by the congregation” over the LGBT inclusion topic.

The statement, which was prepared by church member Rob Marus, concludes by quoting church Inclusion Team member Kate Campbell as saying that the action to fully include LGBT members “does not bind any other individual member’s conscience on an issue about which they may differ, but rather requires honest commitment to life together in the community of Christ regardless of differences.”

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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