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.”