by Dan Koeshall
We raise spiritual voices for the inherent sacred worth of every trans and nonbinary person.
At Metropolitan Community Churches around the world, including at “The Met” in San Diego, our core values are inclusion, community, spiritual transformation, and justice. We believe in recognizing the humanity and dignity of every person in the human family, no matter who they are or who they love. We also believe God doesn’t make mistakes in creation, and every individual is personally accepted and unconditionally loved by this same God.
Love is our greatest moral value. Inclusion is a primary focus of our ministry. We want to be conduits of faith where everyone is included in the family of God. We believe that all people, as they are and where they are, should be welcomed at God’s table.
Our deep desire is to offer a safe and open community for people to worship, learn and grow in their faith. We are committed to equipping ourselves and each other to do the work that God has called us to do in the world — to share the good news of God’s unconditional love to all people.
The founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, Rev. Troy Perry, has often said, “God doesn’t have any step children. We are all God’s children.” So how do we create safe spaces for our transgender siblings and support them and their families?
I emailed Beth Kind, a transgender woman who first started attending Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego in 2013, and she wrote, “I’ve always not only felt fully accepted at the church, but celebrated for what I bring to the congregation in helping others like myself experience the same love, respect and confidence I’ve come to gain. Those experiences continue to open doors for me that have enriched my life, as well as those of friends, family and neighbors I interact with. We participate in community outreach programs, including Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Day of Visibility, as well as provide religious services to transgender inmates at the county’s men’s jail. One of my fondest sayings we have is, ‘Come, just as you are.’”
Our mission is to bring people closer to God and one another. We affirm each individual as a unique and gifted creation of God. Building on our history of celebrating diversity in sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, we are a congregation that welcomes all people. We are also called to welcome home those who have been spiritually wounded or are seeking or growing a relationship with God that will lead to hope, healing and wholeness.
Repeatedly, we hear from visitors and newcomers — people who have been bruised and maligned by religion, and, even sadder, by family — that in worshiping with us, they suddenly feel “at home” and feel love and feel God.
If you don’t know a transgender person, I encourage you to visit our church, reach out and meet the many fabulous transgender people who call San Diego home. You will find out our trans siblings have the same hopes, desires, fears and worries as we all do. Well, yes and no. With transgender people becoming a growing target of anti-trans legislation, discrimination and violence motivated by fear, hate and ignorance, our trans siblings live in a dangerous world where they are being attacked on every side it seems — and mostly from God-loving people. This I don’t understand.
We at The Met will continue to reach out and provide an open door and open hearts toward all of God’s beloved creations, including our trans siblings. Metropolitan Community Churches around the globe continue to practice inclusion and the recognition of the full humanity of every person.
The Metropolitan Community Churches’ elders advocate alongside our transgender siblings that trans people should be supported and protected from physical and emotional violence and encouraged to fully participate in community and family life. Trans children and adults should be ensured access to medicines and other gender-affirming treatments.
We raise spiritual voices for the inherent sacred worth of every trans and nonbinary person. I ask, would you join us in prayer and action for their safety and protection?
–Dan Koeshall is senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego and a former Assembly of God minister. He lives in South Park.
Editor’s Note: To read additional Pride Month-inspired, pro-LGBTQ messages from other faith leaders of various denominations within the local San Diego community, visit bit.ly/43YSla2.