Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Church billboard proclaims 'Being Gay is a Gift From God'

Rev. Bill Barnard, left, & church members.THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
Finally a church that gets it. The Central United Methodist Church in Toledo Ohio brags a membership of "a couple of dozen", according to the Toledo Blade. In an effort to increase their numbers, the church is going beyond simple tolerance of LGBT people and reaching out with love and affirmation.
“We’re expecting a vigorous conversation in this community in many forms,” said Dan Rutt, a member of Central United Methodist’s lead team.
The digital billboard at Monroe Street and Central Avenue, in Toledo’s Colony area, began displaying the slogan early Monday, and Central’s congregation — which averages “a couple dozen people” on Sunday mornings, Mr. Rutt said — has made a one-month commitment at a cost of $1,500. The billboard campaign will continue as long as funds are available, he said.
The Rev. Bill Barnard, Central’s part-time pastor, said the billboard message will be linked to a four-week sermon series, and the overall campaign goal is “to make a leap beyond tolerance.”
“Members of the congregation have experienced places and times where being lesbian or gay was tolerated — kind of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell, I know God forgives you,’” Barnard said. “We’re saying, ‘This is the way God created you. There’s nothing to forgive.’ “
As for me, I've always believed that being gay is a gift from God. It's good to see at least one mainstream church understands that.

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