March 31, 2009

Advocacy Group: The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists

Yeah, yeah, I know. A lot of the folks that visit this site instinctively cringe when they see the word Baptist. The Southern Baptist Convention is one of, if not the most, anti-gay religious denominations around.

There are other Baptists, however, and The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists has gathered up a group of them that are GLBT friendly. From their website:

Ten years ago, after the lgbt community had been dealt yet another blow by members of their denomination, a group of American Baptist pastors decided that it was time to stand up and declare their affirmation of glbt people. The network of churches they founded, the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB), has now grown to more than 60 churches and organizations. AWAB members are Baptist churches, organizations, and individuals who have gone on record as being welcoming and affirming of all persons, without regard to sexual orientation.

We know that much abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons has been fostered and encouraged by the rhetoric of the church, leaving many people feeling that they must choose between their faith and their sexuality. AWAB members have joined together to advocate for inclusion of lgbt persons within Baptist communities of faith. Initiated at a gathering of pastors in 1991 at the American Baptist Biennial Meeting in Charleston, West Virginia, the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists was formally organized at the 1993 Biennial in San José, California. (For more on our formation and developments within the ABC, read our brief history.)

Currently, the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists consists of 48 congregations, several local support chapters, church groups and pastoral counseling centers, an international ministry, and individuals. See our current membership list for a list of Welcoming & Affirming congregations and ministries.

Click here to visit their website.

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