Amidst cautious applause, a Tennesee church has become one of the first evangelical megachurches in the country to openly stand for full equality and inclusion of the LGBTQ community, along with EastLake Community Church near Seattle. GracePointe is located in Franklin, Tenn., twenty minutes south of Nashville and in the heart of the country’s contemporary Christian music industry.
Time Magazine reports:
For the past three years, GracePointe has engaged itself in a time of listening on the topic of sexual orientation and identity. It began around the time that the country star Carrie Underwood, who goes to GracePointe, spoke out in favor of marriage equality in 2012, and the Westboro Baptist picketers showed up the church.
That was a time when, as pastor Stan Mitchell of GracePointe Church explains, the position of the church on marriage was classically evangelical. People who were not heterosexual could be members, but they could not serve on the board, lead worship or other church groups. They could be baptized and receive communion, but they could not be married or have their children dedicated.
For congregants on all sides of the debate, the conversation over the past three years has been at times painful, even devastating. For Mitchell, it has been a deeply personal as well as a spiritual journey, especially as he has seen it divide friends and family. And on Sunday, Jan. 11, the church reached a conclusion, as Mitchell shared:
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