Lesbian Couple Takes Pulpit at Historic Baptist Church
A historic Washington D.C. church has taken a gigantic step by appointing its first lesbian couple to partner-lead the congregation. The Calvary Baptist Church will now be led by Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen, two women who are bringing an entirely new image to the pulpit. The lesbian couple has extensive ministerial experience, and church officials say their values align closely with those of the congregation.
While many congregations across the country have gay pastors, Sarratt and Swearingen become one of the first married gay couples to share a spot on the pulpit.
Swearingen calls the job a “dream that has unfolded”, and says that she never imagined it being possible when growing up. The young pastor also sees the shift toward modernization being in line with the goals of church, despite the fact that progressive values tend to fly in the face of long-held ideas and traditional religious beliefs. She explains that “the work of the church has been and always will be to set the table of hospitality for all people.”
Conservative Branches Push Back
Although many denominations are trending toward more tolerant beliefs, there has been no shortage of criticism for the decision to put a lesbian couple on the pulpit.
Just weeks after the decision, protestors burst through the doors of Calvary Baptist Church carrying signs and chanting slogans. The group told church members they “were going to hell” for allowing gay pastors and that the building was now “the house of Satan.”
Strong disapproval was also voiced by members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), a socially conservative branch of the Baptist faith. Current SBC pastor Joseph Lyles said he was “surprised” and “concerned” to hear about the move. He finds it “difficult” to support same-sex relations “with a biblical basis”. Another pastor pointed to the hiring of Sarratt and Swearingen as an example of the progressive branch’s “impulse to try to modify Christianity”.
Read more at https://www.themonastery.org/blog/2017/04/gay-couple-takes-pulpit-at-historic-baptist-church/#FKklMabog6XFLC5e.99