Space For Grace Offering ‘Agnostic Approach’ To Exploring Spiritual Sexual Selves

By |2015-08-27T09:00:00-04:00August 27th, 2015|Michigan, News|

Spiral, the normally booming dance club located in Lansing’s Old Town, is bringing more than drag shows and drink specials to LGBT people. Kick Back Sunday, sponsored by Space for Grace, is a new nondenominational spiritual movement in Lansing.
“The vision is almost singular and yet global in that our agenda is to create a safe space not only at Kick Back Sundays, but to develop that aura so that wherever you go, we are extending that spirit of safe space,” said Pastor PamelaJune “PJ” Anderson, “and that spirit of hospitality and that spirit of inclusion. We want people at Space for Grace to get that in their spirit. Get that in their being.”
That’s a mighty big agenda for a retired Navy chaplain who spent time working with President Barack Obama unraveling the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. It’s an even bigger job for an African-American, heterosexual woman who a dozen years ago was not very open to the LGBTQIAASGL community.
“I was willing to take that risk,” she said of starting a ministry reaching out to the community. “It’s costly in terms of having colleagues where I can just hang out and talk about vision and our dreams. It’s not gonna happen.”
Her calling to minister to the community that has been “spiritually battered” by the traditional church has led more than one person to accuse Anderson of being a lesbian.
With a sly smile she said, “If one more person calls me a lesbian, I might just become one.”
The Space for Grace movement began when her godson Oliver took her under his wing and began to teach her about the community. She said at first she was resistant, but she came to understand there was a yearning for a community. She reached out to her “traditional” church — she’s ordained by the United Church of Christ. Initial response was favorable to creating an outreach ministry to the community, but as the launch time grew near, the leadership grew more antsy, she said.
So she went out on her own with a meeting in February 2014 in Ann Arbor. Those who participated told her in no uncertain terms, “We do have a need for an agnostic approach to exploring and examining — and more importantly experiencing our spiritual, sexual selves.”
And thusly Space for Grace was brought into being. Right now the group meets the third Sunday of every month at Spiral in Lansing. They mingle, chat, share blessing on a meal, share that meal, listen to some singing and have more conversation. It is a communion service in a most basic and simple form.
The struggle between the “agnostic” vision and the traditional church is clear. She speaks of the conflict of interpretation.
“That may be that person’s experience,” Anderson said. “But if it conflicts with who I know God has created me to be, then we need to look at the back story behind the scripture.”
By backstory, she explained, she means the historical context in which the scripture was written — who was it written by? Why was it written? Why was it important in that moment in history?
For Anderson, there is no returning to a traditional church setting.
“Being part of the traditional part of the church is like trying to fit Texas in Rhode Island,” she said. “It just doesn’t fit anymore.”

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