No matter what letter you identify with, or no letter, you are welcome at First Presbyterian Church! We welcome you in your uniqueness, and invite you to experience the love and fellowship of this congregation.
Let me share a bit of my story with you:
Over many decades the Presbyterian Church (USA) struggled with the question of whether or not self-affirming, practicing homosexuals should be ordained, and later, whether same-gender marriage should be allowed. I was called as the interim pastor of First Presbyterian in 2015 when some of the marriage debate was going on.
It was an interesting time to be here, as the church knew going in that I was in a same-gender marriage, and that it was important that I and my wife, Linda, be fully welcomed wherever we served. At the same time, the session (the governing board of the church) wanted to have conversations with the congregation about whether or not to allow same-gender marriages in our sanctuary. Part of my job was to facilitate those conversations. We invited in Mark Achtemeier, theologian and author of “The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart,” to come lead an educational event on this topic. The next step was for the session to make a decision about same-gender marriage in the sanctuary based on what they learned and conversation with the congregation about their thoughts.
Meanwhile (this is the fun part of the story!), the church was seeking a permanent pastor (I was the interim, or temporary pastor, there to assist them while they sought a permanent pastor), and they overwhelmingly voted to ask me to stay. I was thrilled to say yes, which, as I told the session, basically meant they had effectively decided on the marriage issue without ever having to vote on it. They agreed, and as a testament to this congregation, it has never been an issue since. We are united in welcoming all people, regardless of how they identify, into our church family. I can honestly say that Linda and I have been welcomed without reservation, and we are not alone in being the recipients of that welcome.
First Presbyterian Church is a member of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, an organization that seeks the full inclusion of all people in the church and its leadership. We believe that God’s church is for everyone, and everyone is called by God to a unique ministry of love and reconciliation with the world.
We invite you to come experience the love and fellowship of First Presbyterian Church, and to join us in ministry with Christ to our neighborhood, and beyond!
Pastor Sue Coller
~ Rooted in God ~ Open to Grace ~ Filled with Joy ~
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. — Howard Thurman