A South Side Chicago church is tackling negative perceptions of LGBT people within the community. Pastor Emily McGinley of New Hyde Park Church, one of four locations of the Urban Village Church, is leading the way in revolutionizing a new way of thinking.
“We have small LGBTQ groups” within the church, McGinley told 429Magazine, but the Urban Village Church hopes to “create a space for LBTQ people of color. A lot of people of color have to check their racial identity at the door.”
McGinley hopes to create a safer community for the LGBT among the congregation by addressing issues of racial discrimination and fostering a supportive environment for those living with HIV/AIDs.
McGinley is not alone in her efforts. “A lot of the leadership are gay and are partners with me to help make it safe for the community,” she said.
“We believe that every human being is created and gifted by God; therefore, people of every race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, age and background, theological and political conviction are invited to be a real part of the church,” it says on the beliefs and values page of the church’s website.
“We are a Reconciling Congregation and celebrate the gifts of diverse Christians—lesbian, gay, same gender loving, straight, bisexual, transgender, queer—in every part of our life together, including lay, staff, and pastoral leadership.”
McGinley said they have yet to see any negative backlash from their efforts.
“We are a church that welcomes everyone,” said McGinley. ”In order to be an honest community, we have to recognize differences and engage in them.” She wants to create an atmosphere, “of a real community, instead of pretending we are all the same” like some churches do.
The church is conducting a demonstration on March 17 to show their support of the LGBT community during the relaunch of the New Hyde Park location.