A Christianity with open arms

By |2005-05-26T09:00:00-04:00May 26th, 2005|Uncategorized|

DETROIT – The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan wants you. Really.
And they are putting their advertising where their faith is.
The Episcopal Church in the U.S. is the denomination that has had the
courage to stand up to more conservative churches in the Anglican Union Communion with the elevation of openly-gay Gene Robinson as bishop and, in some dioceses, by blessing same-sex unions.
Now, in an effort to increase awareness of their openness to diversity, the Diocese of Michigan, which covers Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Jackson, and nearby areas, has begun a campaign to welcome people into their church.
Canon for Communication Karen Bota said that LGBT people who are seeking a Christian-based faith community ought to consider the Episcopal Church for two main reasons.
“LGBT people are very welcome in the Episcopal Church, and they’re full participants,” she said. “So we have people who are clergy and bishops and so on. That’s one thing. The other thing is not to label a person but to look deeper than that, at how they experience God.”
One aspect of the campaign, the diocese’s web site, emphasizes that all people are welcome in the Church. Not only does the web presentation show a variety of people – from a young man with spiked hair to people of different races and orientations – but it also talks about the different ways that people experience God.
That’s no accident, said Bota.
“The campaign is getting at the fact that the Episcopal Church is open to people regardless of their experience of God,” she said. Different pages of the site show people saying, “My God is…” followed by words ranging from “radical” to “my strength.” One page, which shows the back of a car with a full rainbow in its rear window, says, “My God is Love.”
The Church is open to “Diversity of both people and experience of how they choose to view God,” Bota said.
The Church is looking to attract diverse people by advertising in lot of many different places, including TV and radio, the sides of buses, and print – including advertising to the LGBT community in Between The Lines.
Bota admitted that not all area churches have “seen the light” with regard to welcoming LGBT worshippers.
“It’s a long haul to get people to be open to everyone,” she said.
However, the diocese is prepared to help LGBTs find an Episcopal church that will be as open to them as the diocese believes that Christ is. The diocese’s LGBT committee has prepared a brochure listing LGBT-welcoming churches within the diocese.
For more information about the campaign or to see the web advertisement, visit http://www.edomi.org. To receive a copy of the brochure listing LGBT-affirming Episcopal churches within the Diocese of Michigan email Karen Bota at [email protected] or call 313-268-6431.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.