Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay youth pastor from Lake Street Church removed from Baptist World Alliance Commissions
by Kayleigh Padar
2023-06-22

This article shared 3861 times since Thu Jun 22, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


A youth pastor at Evanston's Lake Street Church, T.J. Williams, was removed from two global commissions run by the Baptist World Alliance because he's gay, he said.

Since 2020, Williams served on the Baptist World Alliance's Racial Justice and Interfaith Commission without issue. The commissions are made up of members of Baptist churches throughout the world who meet regularly to discuss global issues.

This year, Rev. Elijah Brown, a leader at Baptist World Alliance, asked Williams to resign because he's married to his husband, Williams said.

Williams said he's been open about his marriage since joining the commissions and his 2005 wedding was famously the first ever held at Riverside Baptist Church in New York City. He speculated the decision to remove him from the commission came after he asked leadership if his husband could travel with him to an upcoming meeting in Norway.

Williams refused to resign and was told his position on the commissions was rescinded, he said. Williams said they told him other LGBTQ+ people would be removed from commissions if he spoke out about the issue.

"Rev. Brown and the executive community decided that because I am a gay man I don't have access to the Divine and have the calling to serve the children of the Divine," Williams said. "This spiritual abuse is death-dealing and colonizing."

A spokesperson at Baptist World Alliance said the organization doesn't comment on the specifics of any current or previous commission member.

"As a Christian World Communion, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) represents Baptists in 128 countries and territories with a governing General Council comprised of global representatives," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Drawing upon over 400 years of shared Baptist history and more than 100 years of organizational history, the BWA remains committed to our mission to network the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ."

While Williams was on the commissions, he was vocal about protecting people's human rights and addressing systemic oppression, he said.

"I've always said that we have to address sexism, homophobia, white supremacy and colonization," Williams said. "We have to play a part in addressing the societal issues eroding people's humanity and if the church doesn't do that, then it needs to die because it's no good to anybody."

"As one of the only LGBTQ+ voices on the commission, I was able to remind folks that LGBTQ+ people should be included in conversations about justice and global inequality. I do wonder if I was removed because I've been such a progressive voice."

American Baptist Churches in particular have a long history of supporting social justice movements and furthering progressive causes, Williams said. The American Baptist Church originally split from the Southern Baptist Church because American Baptists opposed slavery.

Some notable members of the American Baptist Church include civil-rights leaders John Lewis, Joseph Lowery and Martin Luther King Jr.

"There's a historic legacy of American Baptist Churches advocating for justice for all people and the liberation of marginalized voices," Williams said.

A number of Baptist churches globally are accepting of LGBTQ+ people because Baptist congregations are allowed to define their individual churches' beliefs, Williams said. Williams' colleagues at Lake Street Church have supported him throughout this ordeal and have been intentional about hiring LGBTQ+ clergy and staff, he said.

Since churches are allowed to choose their own policies, Williams believes the Baptist World Alliance should make room for different perspectives instead of weeding out LGBTQ+ people from its commissions.

"The Baptist World Alliance is supposed to be a global body that encompasses all the churches and acknowledges their local church autonomy," Williams said.

Williams is seeking the opportunity to speak with the Baptist World Alliance's board privately to explain why marginalized people should be allowed to participate in their global commissions. But, he said he's not interested in rejoining the commission again unless he receives an apology and the board commits to better representing marginalized people on its commissions.

"There would have to be a culture change for me to go back onto the commission," Williams said. "There has to be an intentional effort to change, and more advocacy around social justice issues."


This article shared 3861 times since Thu Jun 22, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bring Chicago Home Campaign releases open endorsement letter from 100+ faith leaders
2024-02-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With just over a month before the March 19th primary election, prominent Chicago faith leaders will today release a letter—signed by over 100 religious leaders—endorsing the Bring Chicago Home campaign to restructure the Real ...


Gay News

WORLD Marriage in Greece, UK politics, cruise death, HRC grants
2024-02-02
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece unanimously agreed at a recent meeting that it is "strongly opposed" to the Greek government's promised bill on same-sex marriage and adoption, Balkan Insight reported. The conservative New ...


Gay News

Ohio man sentenced for firebombing pro-LGBTQ+ church
2024-01-30
On Jan. 29, 2024, Ohio resident Aimenn D. Penny was sentenced to 216 months (18 years) in prison followed by three years of supervised release for attempting to burn down a pro-LGBTQ+ church, according to a ...


Gay News

VIEWS Is the Pope Catholic? Francis faces opposition in steps toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity
2024-01-02
The recent change in Vatican policy allowing priests to bless same-gender couples has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Pope Francis and his openness to LGBTQ+ people—a backlash that some fear might devolve into a schism in ...


Gay News

WORLD Brianna Ghey, archbishops, HIV, George Michael, Albanian women
2023-12-29
A boy and a girl, each 16, were found guilty of murdering a transgender teenager in northwest England earlier this year in a knife attack, per a Yahoo! News item that cited the AP. Brianna Ghey, ...


Gay News

Catholic Church allows priests to bless same-sex couples but reaffirms disapproval of gay marriage
2023-12-22
LGBTQ+ couples can now receive blessings from priests, but the Catholic Church maintained its strict ban on gay marriage, according to a Vatican document approved by Pope Francis Dec. 18. This historic change in doctrine marks ...


Gay News

Greek government vows to back marriage equality
2023-12-22
Despite opposition from the Church of Greece and within the ruling New Democracy, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' government said it will eventually move to legalize same-sex marriage, The National Herald reported. However, no timetable was ...


Gay News

Dignity/Chicago welcomes new rule on church blessings for same-sex marriages
2023-12-18
--From a press release - Dignity/Chicago, the advocacy organization for LGBTQI Catholics and friends, welcomed the news that the Vatican's doctrinal office has officially declared it possible for Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions and ...


Gay News

New Ways Ministry: Pope's blessings approval is Christmas gift to LGBTQ+ Catholics
2023-12-18
--From a press release - MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Statement by Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry: Pope Francis gave LGBTQ+ Catholics an early Christmas gift this year by approving blessings for same-gender couples. The Vatican ...


Gay News

Pope Francis changes policy, allowing priests to bless same-sex unions; GLAAD responds
2023-12-18
--From a press release - GLAAD: "By removing barriers to priests blessing LGBTQ couples, the Pope accurately recognizes that LGBTQ people and our relationships are worthy of the same affirmation and support in the Church, and this strengthens couples in their ...


Gay News

Pope Francis's community of transwomen
2023-11-28
It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...


Gay News

Ghana cardinal: It's time to understand homosexuality
2023-11-27
Ghana Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson told the BBC that being gay should not be considered illegal and that people should be helped to understand the issue of homosexuality better. Turkson's comments come as his country's ...


Gay News

Pope: Trans people can be baptized and act as godparents
2023-11-09
Pope Francis has stated that trans people may be baptized and act as godparents or witnesses to marriage under the same conditions as any other adult—as long as a scandal does not result, according to PinkNews. ...


Gay News

WTTW doc chronicles the activism of Danny Sotomayor
2023-11-03
Practically everything the late Chicago AIDS activist Danny Sotomayor did was "a fight." So says fellow activist Victor Salvo in the new WTTW documentary The Outrage of Danny Sotomayor, which is part of the station's Chicago ...


Gay News

GAY HISTORY MONTH George Harris reflects on his late husband and Dallas activism
2023-10-10
Special to Windy City Times. To mark Gay History Month, this article appears courtesy of Dallas Voice and the LGBT History Project. When George Harris and Jack Evans became the first couple to legally marry in ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.