Why We Care
We echo the words of our siblings throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), who overwhelmingly voted in 2018 that “LGBTQIA+ people have faithfully, lovingly, and courageously served in every kind of service to which Christian disciples are called—notwithstanding the church’s efforts to exclude them from particular types of service.” We believe that LGBTQIA+ people of faith help move the church of Jesus Christ toward a life together which is more generous, more loving, and increasingly full of God’s light and justice.
We uphold the historic Presbyterian principles of church order and freedom of conscience, which empower people for continued discernment and participation in the life of the church. Alongside those principles, the life of Catonsville Presbyterian Church is clear: those of us who are LGBTQIA+ participate in every corner of our ministry, governance, and life together.
Our commitment to the lives and participation of LGBTQIA+ people in ministry extends beyond welcome statements. We’re a proud partner with Catonsville Family Pride since its inception by hosting neighbors, guests, vendors, and nonprofits at the annual festival. We advocate alongside LGBTQIA+ people across the national church through our close ties and support of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.
If you’d like to read about the history of LGBTQIA+ rights in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), visit the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s summary on ministry with LGBTQIA+ people.
If you’d like to learn more about our congregation’s history of ministry with LGBTQIA+ people, you’re welcome to reach out to either of our pastors.
The Trevor Project has compiled resources for both individuals who are in need of support and caregivers or friends of those who are at risk.
National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.
You can call or text the 988 lifeline to be connected with local crisis support. The 988 website also includes a chat option. There are also online resources for individuals who are BIPOC, veterans, youth, neurodivergent, LGBTQIA+, or survivors of loss.
Trans Lifeline is a grassroots hotline and 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.
The lifeline does not put individuals on hold for a variety of reasons. Because there are a limited number of trans and nonbinary hotline operators, you might not reach someone on your first attempt. In that case, you can visit this page for next steps: Trans Lifeline | What Next?
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians seeks an equity still not fully realized for LGBTQIA+ people in church and society, by:
- Engaging the church to invite all of God’s children into safe and welcoming congregational spaces of affirmation, healing, dignity and purpose;
- Educating the church to expand our welcome of LGBTQIA+ people, to affirm their gifts for ordained office, and to uphold marriage equality for all; and
- Equipping the church to bear witness to justice through advocacy and activism at the international, national and local church levels; speaking a prophetic word in anxious and divided times; and standing with others in fighting hate and oppression against any of God’s children.
Queerfully and Wonderfully Made: A Guide for LGBTQ+ Teens
Are you LGBTQ+? Not sure? Whether you’re queer or questioning, understanding sexuality and gender identity can be confusing. And if you’re a Christian, questions of identity can be even scarier. Is there something wrong with you? Will your friends accept you? When should you tell your family? What about church?
Queerfully and Wonderfully Made: A Guide for LGBTQ+ Christian Teens has answers to all these questions and more. You’ll get insight and support from an amazing group of LGBTQ+ professionals, as well as testimonies from young adult queer Christians who’ve recently been exactly where you are. You’ll walk away with a lot of answers, prepared with tools to help. But most importantly, you’ll hear the good news: God loves you exactly as you are. No matter your identity or where in your journey of self-discovery you find yourself, you got this.
Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians by Austen Hartke.
“Weaving biblical examples of gender nonconformity and transformation with the stories and voices of contemporary trans Christians, Hartke’s approach is both pastoral and prophetic as he addresses harmful Christian theology that has been used to further marginalize and exclude trans people. Hartke’s scriptural basis for a trans-affirming theology offers a healing balm for queer and trans people who have ever questioned that God loves them based on ‘what it says in the Bible,’ while challenging progressive Christian communities to center trans perspectives in their efforts to become truly open and affirming.” – Sojourners Magazine
“Mom, I’m Gay”: Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith by Susan Cottrell
“Susan Cottrell, a Christian and a mom of a lesbian daughter, offers her hard-won wisdom about how to respond with love and support as your child comes out. With practical advice and heartfelt encouragement, Cottrell guides readers through the fear and uncertainty Christian parents of LGBTQ children often feel.” – More Light Presbyterians
Unclobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality by Colby Martin
Armed with only six passages in the Bible―often known as the “Clobber Passages”―the conservative Christian position has been one that stands against the full inclusion of our LGBTQ siblings. UnClobber reexamines each of those frequently quoted passages of Scripture, alternating with author Colby Martin’s own story of being fired from an evangelical megachurch when they discovered his stance on sexuality.
UnClobber reexamines what the Bible says (and does not say) about homosexuality in such a way that sheds divine light on outdated and inaccurate assumptions and interpretations. This new edition equips study groups and congregations with questions for discussion and a sermon series guide for preachers.
Called Out: 100 Devotions for LGBTQ Christians by E Carrington Heath
The experience of growing up “different,” coming out in a disapproving environment, having one’s identity and relationships questioned or downright rejected shapes the faith of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer Christians in ways those outside the community cannot fully understand. LGBTQ Christians need spiritual resources that speak to the unique joys and challenges of their journey.
E. Carrington Heath offers one hundred devotions on such topics as authenticity, coming out, relationships, chosen family, religious trauma, and more to nurture the faith of our LGBTQ siblings and help friends, family, and allies grow in understanding and faith.
Fully affirming of all, sensitive to the diversity of the entire LGBTQ community, and backed by theological depth, these devotions will lift the reader up and empower them for the work of transforming the world.
God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case In Support of Same-Sex Relationships by Matthew Vines
As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to someday share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships.
Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as:
• Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not?
• How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate?
• What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships?
• Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen?
• What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations?
Unique in its affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian is likely to spark heated debate, sincere soul searching, even widespread cultural change. Not only is it a compelling interpretation of key biblical texts about same-sex relations, it is also the story of a young man navigating relationships with his family, his hometown church, and the Christian church at large as he expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.
Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, by John Boswell
“John Boswell’s National Book Award-winning study of the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the early Christian West was a groundbreaking work that challenged preconceptions about the Church’s past relationship to its gay members—among them priests, bishops, and even saints—when it was first published twenty-five years ago. The historical breadth of Boswell’s research (from the Greeks to Aquinas) and the variety of sources consulted make this one of the most extensive treatments of any single aspect of Western social history. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, still fiercely relevant today, helped form the disciplines of gay and gender studies, and it continues to illuminate the origins and operations of intolerance as a social force.” – More Light Presbyterians
Social Media Pack for Churches
Download social media graphics with quotes and denominational statements. This includes:
• Quotes by Matthew Vines, Colby Martin, Susan Cottrell, E. Carrington Heath, and Austen Hartke
• Quote from the PC(USA)’s 2018 Overture, “Affirming and Celebrating the Full Dignity and Humanity of People of All Gender Identities”
• Quote from the ELCA’s “Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action”