100-year-old Ohio Church Installs Gay Pastor
Originally printed 8/21/2014 (Issue 2234 - Between The Lines News)
CANTON, OH - An Ohio church marking its 100th anniversary this year on Sunday installed its first openly gay pastor who came out two years ago and says he wants everyone in the community to know that it's OK to be who they are.
The Congregational United Church of Christ in Plain Township, north of Canton, made the Rev. Dennis Coy its pastor in a formal ceremony two months after he was unanimously elected.
Coy said that part of the ceremony included the congregation forming a circle around him and singing as a demonstration of love and support.
"It was a very touching and unexpected moment," he said shortly after the ceremony. "The forward thinking and progressive nature of this congregation that's been around 100 years, to then say, 'We want to call as our new pastor an openly gay man,' really speaks to them extending that welcome into the community."
Coy, 35, is a former police officer and drug-enforcement agent. He undertook seminary studies at the University of London and the United Church of Christ lay ministry program.
Coy now works full-time investigating money laundering for a regional bank.
Coy said that coming out publicly in 2012 was a difficult decision for him that included ending his 10-year marriage to his wife.
He said he was inspired to come out after attending a church event led by an openly gay United Church of Christ pastor.
"I thought, if this man can lead in a mainline Protestant denomination, why can't I?" he told The Repository, (http://bit.ly/1rgN3lV). "My theology as a pastor is, above all else, we love everyone. We want to be a place where people can feel it. ... It's about showing others that it's OK to be who you are."
Coy said he believes scriptures used to condemn homosexuality have been "grossly misinterpreted."
"As Christians, we follow Christ," he said. "Nowhere does Christ say anything about the subject. But he does tell us to love everyone."
- Decision Day: When The Supreme Court Rules
- A Different Kind Of Catholic Church
- LGBT-Inclusive Spring Worship Events
- Rev. Ric Beattie Takes The Helm Of Unity Royal Oak
- First-Of-Its-Kind LGBT Jewish Curriculum
- Worship Songwriter Vicky Beeching Comes Out As Gay
- 100-year-old Ohio Church Installs Gay Pastor
- Award-Winning Documentary Considers Mormon Trans Woman's Tale Of Transition
- New Report Exposes Deceptive Religious Right Strategy Targeting LGBT Equality
- Lutherans Embrace LGBT Community With 'Reconciling In Christ'
- Clergy Come Out In Support Of Michigan Same Sex Couples
- Leaping Over The Boundaries Of Traditional Marriage
- New LGBT-Affirming Congregation comes to Southeast Michigan
- Abrams Lost Her Church, But Has Found Her Calling
- Three Gay Holocaust Survivors Remember
- Ordinary Catholic: A View From The Pew
- Integrity, Truth Telling Inspire Priest's Coming Out
- MCC Windsor Celebrates 25 Years Of Service
- Gay and Christian - not an oxymoron
- No church? No problem.
- Lansing Community Mourns Passing of LGBT Leader
- Q&A: Jillian Michaels on Her Madonna-Influenced Coming Out, LGBT Community's Pressure to Marry & Why She Uses the Word 'Fag'
- A Loathsome Loophole: How Some LGBT Michiganders Use Discriminatory Law
- Affirmations: It's Time to Bring the Community Back to the Center
- Confessions of a Superfan: Why a Self-Proclaimed 'Front-Row Bitch' Wrote 581 Pages on Madonna
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!