Arts & Life

These Long Beach churches welcome the LGBTQ+ community openly

While Christianity has long held unfavorable views of the LGBTQ+ community, many churches, organizations and Christian communities are shifting perspectives and placing an emphasis on inclusivity. Alongside Long Beach’s diverse and vibrant LGBTQ+ community, there are many churches here that are welcoming to LGBT members.

City Church Long Beach prides itself on the values of inclusivity and acceptance. Co-pastor Bill White founded City Church Long Beach after a group of churchgoers and himself personally found themselves rethinking their interpretation of Christianity.

When White’s son came out as gay in 2015, it “shattered the illusion” of what he once believed. Since then, he’s shifted towards post-evangelical Christianity, with an emphasis on values of love and acceptance.

City Church Long Beach describes itself as a “radically welcoming community on a journey towards Jesus.”

White wants the LGBTQ+ community to know that there is a space for them within Christianity.

“We have a very diverse queer community at City Church,” said White. Nearly half of the church’s board members identify as LGBTQ+.

The church also does other work to promote acceptance of different marginalized identities and communities. In March, they held a sermon discussing disability theology and how to “love disabled people better.”

Besides City Church Long Beach, there are other churches in the Long Beach area that also welcome and accept the LGBTQ+ community.

Christ Chapel of Long Beach describes itself as a place to belong with values that are inclusive, open and affirming. On Christ Chapel’s website, there are several linked resources for the local LGBTQ+ community.

Another church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach emphasizes its efforts to be inclusive and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community and their families. On the UUCLB website, it says, “we are one of the few religions that ordains openly LGBTQ+ people and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) also provides assistance in their settlement.”

There are several other churches in Long Beach and the surrounding area that are open and affirming of all sexualities and gender identities. However, White warned that those seeking acceptance within Christianity must remain cautious.

“Be careful. Welcome is often only skin deep. Trust your instincts and do your research,” said White.

When asked what he would say to individuals in the LGBTQ+ community who are looking to explore Christianity, White gave a reminder of love and acceptance.

“To every queer person, I would look them in the eye and say, you are the beloved of God. Don’t settle for anything for less,” White said.

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