Walking Through Samaria with Marian Edmonds-Allen
Meet Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen. She is the executive director for Parity, a New York-based national nonprofit that works at the intersection of faith and LGBTQ+ concerns. She’s also the director of Blessed by Difference, a project that seeks to promote curious and collaborative bridging across the LGBTQ+ and faith divide. A longtime holy warrior against homelessness, Rev. Edmonds-Allen has served in many pastoral capacities, including church planting, parish ministry and chaplaincy. She is married, has four children, and is a passionate skier and outdoor enthusiast.
She has paid a price for her controversial stances on LGBTQ+ issues, even losing her place in one seminary because of it, but Rev. Edmonds-Allen still tries to bring people together through what she calls “holy dialogue.” It’s the “curious and collaborative bridging” in which she helps the LGBTQ+ community find and build relationships with the faith community, based on common ground. “I’m seeing God at work in it,” she says. “Everyone’s a winner when people come together and share core to core.”
Through her Good Samaritan-type efforts, members of the LGBTQ+ community are rediscovering their place in the church. Strangely enough, the COVID pandemic has helped. With people forced to quarantine and shelter in place because of the virus, many now interact with their churches online. What physically closed doors worldwide has figuratively opened doors previously shut to LGBTQ+ community member.
“Some LGBT people feel really worried about walking through the doorway into a church,” she says. “But with now all these online services available and churches advertising what they offer in terms of services, LGBT people are now able to explore different faith settings and worship services and to find something that works for them.”
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