Cen­tral Pres­by­te­rian Church con­tin­ues fight for so­cial jus­tice

GA Voice - - Faith & Religion -

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

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