Many communities of faith have the blessing of having their own spaces for worship, education, and other programs. Sometimes that gift goes underutilized and is empty for parts of the day or week. One way to expand your welcome and put your physical – and virtual – space to good use is to make them available for LGBTQ groups at affordable rates or even for free. And in this time of ongoing pandemic, with the need to “socially distance” from others, how might your faith community share its online “spaces”?
Sharing space – virtual space and, when appropriate, physical space – can help your congregation build bridges with community organizations and challenges the idea of that religious spaces aren’t welcoming to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. It is important to recognize that some people may be put off, offended or afraid to enter your space because of past traumas with anti-LGBTQ religious groups. Be respectful of those bad experiences but also communicate your commitment to welcome and affirmation.
Some specific groups that might benefit from using your space include youth groups and their leaders, gatherings of LGBTQ immigrants or refugees, transgender social or support groups, and so on. How can you use your existing space to further the work of community organizers and assist groups that are often under served or under resourced?