How is a church chosen for your Directory?
The intent of the Affirming Church Directory is to provide an online directory for people so they can locate and visit gay-friendly Christian churches around the world. We list congregations that meet regularly in a physical location for worship, prayer, service, and fellowship.
Although we appreciate other ministries (online, prayer, pastoral, etc.), our mission is to connect people with local church congregations so they can visit and, if they choose, get involved. All churches in our Affirming Church Directory™ have confirmed that their congregation is an affirming Christian church in some form or fashion.
What do we mean by “Affirming?”
We define the word “affirming” as meaning the church does not view homosexuality in and of itself as a sin. Therefore they would welcome and treat a homosexual person no different than any other person who walked through their church doors seeking Christ. We also believe that an affirming congregation allows ALL people the ability (as much as denominational polity allows) to be involved in ALL aspects of the community’s life, including serving on committees, leading small groups, ordaining LGBTQ+ folks to ministry, and performing same-sex marriages.
Sometimes “affirming” churches are also known as “gay-friendly,” “accepting,” or “welcoming” churches. Although these terms have often been used interchangeably, some congregations differentiate between the words. For example, a church may “welcome” ALL people but may NOT “affirm” all lifestyles, and therefore LGBTQ+ folks may not be allowed in leadership positions within the church. In the same vein, some denominations may forbid same-gender marriage or the ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer people. Yet, a local congregation will fully embrace and affirm everyone in leadership positions within the local church. A good resource defining the difference between Welcoming, Accepting, and Affirming is available here. You can also read a good first-person account outlining the difference between Welcoming and Affirming here.
A word of caution: while we work hard to validate that these churches are indeed affirming, we cannot be 100% certain. In some cases, GayChurch.org is only passing along material from various church organizations that indicate that these churches are affirming (public domain information). In other instances, church leadership may have changed, and the affirming atmosphere may no longer be present. We strongly suggest that you use our directory as a starting point in your search, understanding that this topic is constantly in flux as the church and society constantly seek a better understanding of this sometimes divisive issue.
What do we mean by “Christian?”
To be listed in our directory, we require that churches self-identify as solely Christian. Although we do not require a congregation to adhere to any specific creed or tradition, our use of the word “Christian” would best be summarized in the Nicene Creed. We chose this particular creed because it is the most widely accepted statement of faith among Christian churches worldwide.
We understand that the definition of a “Christian” is simultaneously intimate and personal (only you can call yourself a follower of Christ) yet historic and world-changing (witness the numerous wars waged over the centuries in the name of God). Because the purpose of our directory is to provide accurate information for our readers, we have had to develop an objective baseline definition of “Christian” that most people would recognize. Our goal is to set expectations for someone when they visit a local church.
We understand that while the congregation members will span the theological spectrum, we expect the church’s primary focus should be proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not list any interfaith, new thought, unity, new age, spiritual, or unitarian congregations because of this requirement. You can, however, find information about some of those ministries on our Affirming Denominations page. In fact, many interfaith and spirituality communities have been long-time supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. Expanding this directory to include gay-affirming faith organizations that are not solely Christian is outside the vision and beyond our small volunteer organization’s capacity. If someone feels called to start such a listing, we are sure it would be welcomed!
How are churches added to the Directory?
The majority of our list comes directly from church submissions via our website over the past 20+ years. If you would like to add your church to our directory — or you want to make changes to the information already listed — please click here and let us know. If a congregation has a website, we have attempted to link to it. GayChurch.org is not responsible for the content of these churches’ websites, nor do our beliefs necessarily correspond with the beliefs held by some of these congregations. As you are most likely aware, there is much diversity of belief within the Body of Christ.
Our list is updated at least monthly, depending on our volunteer availability. We have tried our best to validate all the listings, but please use the Submit/Update Form to update us if you know of incorrect information.
Also, please help us get the word out! Contact your local library today and ask them to stock more gay-affirming Christian books! Change the world one heart and mind at a time!