After the horrific tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in 2017, a number of churches across the U.S. responded by opening their doors to LGBT people, regardless of their religious affiliation.
But the church community in North Carolina is trying to change that, as the church’s leader, Rev. Mike Brown, recently announced that the church will open its doors to gay people and other people of faith.
Brown said in a statement that he’s committed to doing what he can to provide a safe place for LGBT people.
The Rev. Brown told reporters that he has asked for and received the support of a number religious leaders and that he is “not a church person,” but said he’s open to all people.
Brown’s decision came as the National Catholic Reporter reported that a number LGBTQ people have asked Brown to reopen the church.
In recent months, several churches across North Carolina have opened their doors, but Brown’s church in Raleigh was the first to do so, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
In a statement, Brown said that he was motivated by a number personal and spiritual reasons and that his decision came after his daughter came out as transgender.
The statement said Brown was not opposed to any faith, but that he felt that the community was “at a turning point” in terms of LGBT acceptance.
The church’s statement was published in response to the National LGBTQ Task Force’s recommendations for changing the culture in North America, including a call for religious institutions to offer LGBT people the same treatment as everyone else.
“I am confident that our faith community will be successful in this, and that we will open the doors of the church for all who need them,” Brown said.
The NCR is working to identify and interview LGBT clergy across North America.
In 2018, the NCR’s Faith & Justice Project will be releasing a report on how religious institutions in North Carolinas are doing in the wake of the Sutherland Springs tragedy.
The report will be updated every five years.
For more NCR content, visit our LGBT News home page.
Contact David Fathi at [email protected] or (813) 226-3486.
Follow him on Twitter at @davidfathi.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.