For the past two years, members at Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, talked about issues of human sexuality and gender identity. Now the congregation has decided to welcome individuals who are LGBTQ+ into the full life of the church.
“We were hoping to do something that rarely happens these days and that is having people of different perspectives actually listen and talk to one another,” said David McDaniel, senior pastor at Holmeswood. “In a day when polarization is the air we breathe, when you are either on one side or the other, we desired to create a third way of decision-making, where every person has the opportunity to speak and to listen.”
During the past two years, Holmeswood held church-wide conversations where congregants sat around tables and listened to one another. They also revisited Bible stories that discussed human sexuality and gender identities. At the end of the process, there was a large consensus in the church that individuals who are LGBTQ+ should also be fully embraced in the church.
“No matter what your past experience has been in churches, if you are LGBTQ+, you are not considered ‘less-than’ at Holmeswood,” McDaniel added. “In fact, it is quite the opposite. You are a child of God whose full life story is a sacred story. At Holmeswood, we desire to hear and learn from one another’s story. In doing so, we each see a clearer picture of the Christ.”
Holmeswood is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In 2018, CBF adopted a new hiring policy that removed language about sexual orientation that prevented the hiring of LGBTQ+ individuals, but left in place such a hiring restriction for missionaries and those in leadership positions.