LGBTQIA+ Ministry Engagement
Our faith in following Jesus is about being committed to living the way of God's unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive, and transformational love.
While the Episcopal Church has long embraced the gifts of the LGBTQIA+ community, Christianity as a whole has caused hurt and harm.
Bishop Deon Johnson has appointed Bren O'Connor as the Missioner for LGBTQIA+ Engagement for the Diocese. Bren is tasked with reaching out beyond the Diocese to represent the Bishop and the Diocese of Missouri at gatherings to promote the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people while being an advocate within the Diocese to further dismantle barriers to the full expression of the ministry of the church.
We invite you to explore the resources on this page to learn more and take an active role in this ministry.
Questions and Answers
Q: What does LGBTQIA+ Mean?
A: LGBTQIA+ is a grouping of different gender and sexual minorities. The acronym stands for
- L: Lesbian, women who are attracted to other women or feminine persons
- G: Gay, men attracted to other men or masculine persons. Often this is used as a catch-all for being attracted to people of the same gender as yourself.
- B: Bisexual, people who are attracted to their own gender and other genders
- T: Transgender, a blanket term for all people who experience their gender and/or sex as different from the gender or sex they were assigned at birth.
- Q: Queer, a catch-all term for anyone with a non-normative gender or sexual orientation.
- I: Intersex, people born with reproductive or sex characteristics which are not strictly male or female.
- A: Asexual, people who do not experience sexual attraction.
Q: Does the Episcopal Church accept LGBTQIA+ people?
A: Yes, the Episcopal Church is an open and affirming church, supporting the life, dignity, and full-inclusion of all LGBTQIA+ persons.
Q: Why do we say we are open & affirming?
A: LGBTQIA people have always been part of the Church. By saying we are open, we mean that we are living into our baptismal vows to support our neighbors in their life in Christ by welcome and radical hospitality. By affirming, we mean that we cherish and embrace Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual people just as they say they are, as full members of the Body of Christ without qualification.
Q: Do you believe gay people can be married?
A: Yes. As per Acts of Convention: Resolution # 2015-A036 we affirm marriage equality for all adults in the Episcopal Church.
Q: Do you believe people can transition from one gender to another?
A: Yes. While gender identity is a creative, expansive, and deeply personal journey, we affirm all Christians’ gender identities, and the journey they take to become their fullest selves.
Q: How can someone be transgender and Christian? I thought God doesn’t make mistakes.
A: Many transgender Christians would agree with you: God doesn’t make mistakes! Their transition isn’t a turning away from God, but a turning toward God. Just as how everyone’s gender identity is different, every transgender Christian will have a different account of how they see God in their transition.
Q: Doesn’t the Bible say “Homosexuality is wrong?”
A: There are a select few passages in scripture which have been interpreted to exclude or condemn gay people, the “Clobber Passages,” as they are often known. However, many faithful Queer Christians have researched and given deeper context and understanding.
Q: What does the word “Queer” mean? Isn’t that a slur?
A: Historically, the word “Queer” was a slur. Recent generations of LGBTQIA activists have worked to reclaim the term as an umbrella for all Gender & Sexual minories. Queer can mean someone’s own identity as an LGBTQIA+ person, or a broader term for the community and its culture.
Q: Are there any LGBT people in the Bible?
A: The ancient world had very different values around sexuality and gender from our own. Thus, while we may not see many of our modern LGBT representations in the Bible, there are a number of places and stories which can and have been interpreted to support LGBT people.
If you have a resource to add to our collection, please contact Bren O'Connor.
Understanding and Reinterpreting the "Clobber Verses"
- Clarifying the Clobber Texts: https://roomforall.com/resources/a-clergy-responds/
- Responding to “The Clobber Passages” https://www.genderspectrum.org/articles/faith-resources-clobber
- “The Clobber Verses: Six verses cited at gays, lesbians, same-sex relationships and the LGBTQ+” https://postbarthian.com/2017/10/11/clobber-verses-six-scriptures-cited-gays-lesbians-sex-relationships-lgbtq/
Transgender Identity - Testimonies
FR. SHANNON KEARNS
- “If God Does Not Make Mistakes, Why Are You Transgender?” https://www.queertheology.com/if-god-does-not-make-mistakes-why-are-you-transgender/
- “Doubting Thomas: Transgender Scars” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnkXzBqfNUY
- “If My Body is a Temple, Can It Change?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPyLn0YxBIc
- “Genesis, Creation, and the Goodness of LGBTQ+ Identities” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFO6H1hQa5I
Posters for Understanding Gender & Sexual Orientation
- “The Holistic Trans Body” Poster
- “The Genderbread Person”
- “What is LGBTQIA?”
- “What Does “Queer” Mean?”
- Queer Theology Podcast
- Resourcing adults who work with LGBTQIA youth:
- Supporting parents of LGBTQIA youth: