Agape Spirit Ministries launches a series of discussions called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Exploring the impact of silence on the African American LGBTQ community” on March 16.
“It is time for black people in the LGBT community and in our spiritual community to stand up in our churches,” said Darlene Franklin, Agape’s founding minster.
“We’re not trying to tell people to leave their church,” Franklin said. “What we want to do is empower our people to be able to remain in the place where they choose to worship without condemnation.”
LGBTs may find that they’re unable to take part in couples’ ministries or to grieve a partner’s death at funerals because their church does not welcome them, Franklin said. “We’re focusing on the elephant in the middle of the room.”
The church will be giving out continuing education credits to clergy who attend.
The first dialogue, “Is ‘Gay’ church ‘real’ church?” takes place at Ecumenical Thoeological Seminary at 2930 Woodward Ave on March 16 at 7 p.m. The discussion will be led by Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.
Another discussion, “Breaking the Silence: LGBTQ Domestic Violence” is on April 20, and “The Unthinkable: Coming out in the mainstream church” will take place May 18.