A new Lutheran faith group,“#Imagine AChurch,” has formed in Baltimore, and welcomes LGBT people. The group is not having regular services just yet, but 25 to 30 people are gathering about once a month, with each meeting exploring a theme. This month’s gathering will be September 30th from 4 to 5:30 pm at the Red Canoe (4337 Harford Road, Baltimore).

The group is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and supported by the Delaware-Maryland Synod. “Lutherans believe that no matter how far we have wandered, we are never out of God’s reach,” says Pastor Emily Scott. “We believe that grace is offered freely: we don’t need to earn God’s love.” “#Imagine AChuch” says they are a “Christian community of joy and justice that affirms that everyone, including LGBTQ folk, is made in the image of God,” and aims to “dismantle the death-dealing structures of racism.”

“Sunday’s gathering will be a time to explore our belovedness,” said Scott. “So many LGBTQ people have been excluded from sacred spaces or told that something about them was the opposite of good or Godly. We’ll create a space together where we remember that that’s simply not true. God made you exactly as you are, calls you by name and knows you by name, whether that name was given or chosen.”

The group meets in an unconventional space: The Red Canoe on Harford Road, a cafe and children’s book shop that lets the group use the space after hours. “It’s freeing to meet in a space that’s so different from a traditional church building,” says Scott, “because just walking up the stairs to a building filled with pews can elicit negative memories for queer folks.”

The September 30th gathering will include singing, a group art project, and dinner. Speaking will be Merrick Moses, a leader at Church of the Holy Nativity, who will speak about the role of faith in his transitioning to be a trans man. Kids are welcome to participate. “They can work on an art project with the adults, there will be plenty of sights and sounds to captivate them, and there will be an area where they can sit on the floor during quieter moments of worship,” says Scott.

Parking is available at the Safeway located just north of the Red Canoe at 4401 Harford Road. The 54 bus is the best public transit option. The Red Canoe has a few steps leading to the entrance; if that’s a problem, contact Pastor Emily Scott at emily@emilymdscott.com to troubleshoot solutions.

For more information contact Pastor Scott or visit the group’s Facebook event page at Bit.ly/2QWU7mX.

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