Central Presbyterian Church continues fight for social justice
Before Gary Charles became head pastor at Central Presbyterian Church, he came from a church outside Washington, D.C. that was conflicted on the issue of being welcoming and affirming to LGBT members and including them in the leadership. So he still had that bad taste in his mouth once he got to Central Presbyterian in 2004.
“I had heard that they were a fully welcoming and affirming congregation, but I guess I really didn’t believe it. So I preached quite a bit about being welcoming and affirming. And I had one of the lesbian members come up to me and say, ‘Gary, we really appreciate your sermons but Central crossed that bridge awhile back, so there are really probably some other things you want to be focused on,’” Charles says, laughing. “There are plenty of things we fuss and fight about, but sexual orientation isn’t one of them.”
History of social justice work
Pastor in residence Molly McGinnis (who identifies as queer) and head pastor Gary Charles of Central Presbyterian Church. (Photo by Patrick Saunders)
By PATRICK SAUNDERS