Friends of a long-time parishioner of Apostolic Church of God will be picketing outside the South Side, Chicago ministry at 8 a.m., with a program at 11 a.m.,, Sunday, July 30, to protest her removal.
The woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, married her partner, a woman, which resulted in her being kicked out of Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S. Dorchester. Chic Chic Social Club is sponsoring the protest.
The woman's grandmother and mother also belonged to the church, which is affiliated with the Pentecostal movement, and her friends say she is devastated by this situation. Her daughter attacked the church on Facebook, including its pastor, Dr. Byron T. Brazier.
Brazier then used a sermon to lash back. Following is an excerpt from his remarks:
"[People] have asked me, if all have sinned, and gay marriage is the law of the land, then why does the church, and in particular Apostolic Church of God, find this objectionable? And If there are homosexuals in the church, then it appears to be hypocritical not to accept gay marriage. I am sure that people who ask the question are asking for a true understanding. I am sure there may be those who are homosexuals that are part of the family of the Apostolic Church of God. I am sure of that. But there are also liars, fornicators, back-biters and all other types of humanity. Because if there were no sin there'd be no reason to be a church. (applause) And if there was no forgiveness, why would there be grace?
"So it's not that everybody's perfect, we're all imperfect. But what we must realize is that we can not institutionalize that which the lord has already condemned. (applause) And we can not make exceptions. It is the word of the lord, that is the critical point, and no man, no man, has the capability, or the right, to add to, or take away, from the word of god. (long applause) To that end, a prominent member of this church married a woman of the same sex. Her grandmother was a member here. Her mother was a member here. She was a member here along with her family. Her marriage was posted on Facebook, and I was informed by several members of the congregation concerning this matter. I spoke to her earlier, late last week, and explained the church's position on gay marriage. Which she knew. She understood, and she accepted that could no longer be a member of the Apostolic Church of God.
"However, her daughter took exception, and began to place derogatory comments on Facebook and other social media concerning the Apostolic Church of God, evangelist [Ivory] Nuckolls, myself, and my father Bishop [Arthur Brazier]… extremely negative, that really has provided me great anguish."
Friends of the woman called out the pastor for publicly going after her, saying his intention was to humiliate her. That was "way beyond the calling of a pastor to do such a thing amongst the congregation!" one woman wrote on Facebook. "I thought the church was the place to be delivered of sin, why did the pastor contradict himself in the video?"
Chic Chic's event page stated: "We raise our voices, and invite you to join in a community protest organized in support of love and justice! A peaceful protest is being held in opposition to the hate inspired doctrine and public shaming by Apostolic Church of God, against its LGBTQ congregational members. A community of black LGBTQ community members and our allies will gather to serve as protest against religious bigotry and in protection of ideals which embrace the diversity of the black family. We hope our presence will serve as a public witness and inspire houses of worship to treat all of its congregates with dignity, love, equity, and compassion. We stand on the side of Love!"
The church's website says it has more than 20,000 members. On the church's website, Pastor Brazier states the church's path is "not a road of restrictive religion or a path of personal ambition, but it's the freedom to follow the way of Jesus Christ unapologetically as we take God at His Word and serve as a beacon of light to the whole world."
In 2011, newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Pastor Brazier to his transition team, a move that upset some LGBT activists.
At the time, Rev. Irene Monroe, coordinator of the African American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, said Emanuel's selection of Brazier while not including any LGBT co-chairs was an intentional, and troubling, choice. "It is a great concern," Monroe said. "Why that particular church when there are so many progressive churches he can choose from?"
Story, photos and video from Sunday, July 30, 2017 protest: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Protesters-fight-against-bias-at-Apostolic-Church-of-God-/59949.html .
See event details: www.facebook.com/events/1382178201890176/permalink/1382838061824190/ .
For church info: www.acog-chicago.org/ .
Also see: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php .