Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation praises the Central Baptist Church of Lexington.

Richmond, KY -- Kentucky Equality Federation today applauded the decision of the Central Baptist Church of Lexington to end its affiliation with the Elkhorn Baptist Association, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) due to the Convention's position on gay and lesbian people.

"We have been quiet for too long," said church member Rachel Childress. "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in our community who do not know there is a Baptist church like us."

Today, Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer spoke to Trisha Huffman, Office Administrator, and Rev. Dr. Mark Johnson, Senior Minister with the Central Baptist Church of Lexington and thanked them for the position of the Church and welcoming gay and lesbian people.

"We need more Churches like this across the Commonwealth," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "We are all created in the image of God, and we are all children of God. Everyone’s relationship with God is personal and not for any one person or any association of Churches to condemn or frown on."

After nearly 60-year membership in the Elkhorn Baptist Association, the Central Baptist Church of Lexington voted unanimously to terminate its association per their recent press release. The vote reportedly stemmed from a letter from a sister-church pastor to the association’s membership committee questioning a blog post by Central Pastor Mark Johnson.

The blog featured an Indianapolis church’s marketing campaign that asked “Who Stole Jesus?” which included the sentence: “The real Jesus celebrated diversity in God’s creation, including gay and transgender people.”

The complaining pastor affirmed Central Baptist’s right to follow its conscience but questioned “whether or not they should do so as a cooperating member of the Elkhorn Baptist Association.”

“Just as all politics are local, so are true Baptist relationships,” Johnson said. “We had cooperated with the Elkhorn Baptist Association on common projects of mission involvement in the Lexington community even if we disagreed with them on other matters. But 30 years ago, Southern Baptists started emphasizing doctrinal uniformity more than cooperative mission projects as a point of belonging and working together.”

Johnson said Central Baptist Church wants to identify itself as “an open and inviting fellowship for God’s people.” A motto on the church website says: “All are welcomed here. No exceptions.”

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Kentucky Equality Federation is a member of "ILGA," the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a non-government observer at the United Nations with consultive status. ILGA is the world's largest and oldest Federation with more than 800 affiliates worldwide. ILGA continues to be active in campaigning for LGBTI rights on the international human rights and civil rights scene and regularly petitions the United Nations and governments. ILGA is represented in around 110 countries across the world.