Dear Editor, At Church of the Holy SpiritSong, our tagline is #loveneighbor, and that’s exactly what we seek to do. Not such an easy task, being a Christian church in the heart of South Florida’s LGBTQ Community.
You would think that most would be friendly to a welcoming and affirming church that truly loves and cares for all, regardless of the many differences that so finely shred our wonderful world (sexual preference, orientation, skin color, culture, and the list goes on). But the work here in Wilton Manors has been difficult, even exclusionary to our work. One year we were told that if we wanted to sing at one of the local pride festivals, we could sing “uplifting” songs, but nothing Christian in nature.
It’s a testimony that tells the story of the hurt and hate that has been dished out to our sisters and brothers for so many decades in churches that have so adamantly professed that they love all, welcome all, and then use words such as “You’re just not a good fit for our church.”
I’ve heard more stories than I care to recall in which worship leaders were outed and ejected from the church in the middle of the service. The hurt is deep, and the wounds are scabbed over, but far from healed. The Church Universal needs to do a better job of loving all.
With all the rejection that we have endured within our own community, one place has always been an oasis of safety and security for our church. The Pride Center at Equality Park, from which Church of the Holy SpiritSong has leased since October of 2005, has given us a place to call home.
Formerly at the GLCC on Andrews Avenue, and now in the Auditorium on the campus at Equality Park, our church serves as a welcome and safe space where LGBTQ Christians are free to worship God. When we first moved into Equality Park in February of 2009, The Pride Center helped in part to provide our beautiful worship space, while defending time and again why a church could lease on their campus. We enjoy a cohesive and unified community on the campus, working closely with our business partners such as SOPHIA, Challenge Fitness, and Congregation Etz Chaim with whom we willingly and lovingly share space and equipment.
Church of the Holy SpiritSong celebrates our 20thanniversary this August.
The Pride Center has been a part of our history for fourteen of those twenty years, and for that we are thankful. Carry on, Pride Center. You’re doing great work!
Senior Pastor @ Church of the Holy Spiritsong
Rev. Leslie A. Rutland-Tipton M.Div
- In the 06/26 edition of SFGN we inadvertantly omitted Rev. Leslie A. Rutland-Tipton's name from the article. Instead the author was listed as "anonymous." This was a mistake. We apologize and we regret the error.