The Unity Fellowship Church is one strange organization. Predominately African American, it was founded by Bishop Carl Bean a former gospel industry worker in the early eighties, but seems to have always had a cultic persona about itself. We’ve reported on the church here, here and here so you can familiarize yourself with them by reading those stories.
CT, a former member of the church’s Seattle branch has given GCM Watch an exclusive interview and look inside what its like to be a member of a gay church. Did he find what he was looking for? We report, you decide.
GCM Watch: Why did you join a gay church?
CT: I know the reason why I joined a gay church was because I wanted to be among people like me. I wanted to be among gay people who also loved the Lord. I knew that being gay was wrong but thought that if I got into a place of worship that wasn’t so dogmatic on homosexuals that I might actually enjoy it.
GCMW: What was your spiritual experience like while there?
CT: I knew that there would be differences in the order of service and possibly the worship. Found it to much like the black church experience without the true presence of God. People would get up and testify about how God (God himself) blessed them with this lover they have had for however long they were together. The goodness of God was expressed on a ssa level not on the basis of how good he really is. Not sure if there mind was clouded by the spirits that at work on the inside or if they were just literally blind to the awesomeness of God.
Couldn’t have too much of a spiritual experience in the church knowing that after church the pastor, and one half the congregation would be meeting at the closest watering hole for happy hour (Is this where the offering money going?).
There was one time when I can say that I felt the presence of God I was in search of my next move in life. I knew I couldn’t continue down the path I was headed down. I had no money, I was very bored with the church and its lack of righteousness. The choir sung a song by Hezekiah Walker called “Alright Now/I do believe I’ll make it”. It ministered to me so strongly and so real that I thought I actually felt God sitting next to me whispering in my ear that you will make it.
GCMW: Did you ever question teachings you heard?
CT: Being the person who I am I always have questions on anything. I question myself and my motives for things that I do. I questioned the doctrine of the church and how they viewed homosexuality. I found out some of the things that their doctrine taught about homosexuality and the bible. Because of the trick or the attack I should say of the enemy on my life at that time, I was in total agreeance. I needed to be in a church and needed to be accepted for who I was. The big deception was looking me dead in the face and I allowed it to overtake me.
GCMW: How is the bible viewed in the church?
The bible is viewed as a self-help book. The morning sermons were more on passages from “In the Meantime” by Iyanla VanZant. I can only remember one sermon out of the bible and that sermon was over before it got started. Meanwhile sermons from “In the Meantime”, the latest Oprah book club of the month, or any other self-affirming or love focused book would hold a 30 minute sermon.
GCMW: Why did you leave?
CT: I was bored with the church because it was not teaching me right. The Lord was speaking to me regarding being in that place. I would be very uncomfortable hearing sermons that were not from the word of God which would bring about true life change. I was uneasy hearing and seeing homosexual activity in the church (kissing, holding hands, etc.). Couldn’t deal with the musician bringing a different dude to church EVERY sunday and be hugged up on him. It was just too many things!
GCMW: Why do you think people join gay churches?
CT: For acceptance, because churches in past have been so hard on gays.They might love the Lord as much as they know how but have been ostracized, preached on and “sent to hell”. Not just from the pulpit, but from the person sitting right next to them. The funny thing that I noticed was that certain gays were not a part of this holy bashing-the singer who had the voice of an angel, the preacher who everybody knew just didn’t talk about it. The average untalented, confused homosexual is verbally, characsterically, and sometimes physically beat out of the church. Where did they go? Churches that accepted them for who and what they are. I would say in times past that this was the standard but now in some churches it is going on and the number is increasing. Yet people are still flocking to the gay church because they can’t be who they are and be allowed to worship their god in many edifices today.
GCMW: Is there anything else you care to add to help us understand the mindset and operation of churches like Sojourner Truth?
CT: You heard me mention the great deception. Well to me the great deception is the Unity Fellowship Movement and churches like it. Because it gives the assumption that you are serving or worshipping the true and living God when in fact you are being deceived. You have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. Let me explain:
You think that you are serving God and that you were beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God. We were that! You are also taught if you are gay you were born that way, or God made you like this. But how can you be born in the image of a righteous and holy God and yet be born as an abomination to him? You can’t believe in God’s delivering power because you feel and are told by these denominations that you are ok and there is nothing wrong with the way you are. Let me retract and speak only for Unity Fellowship Movement because that is the only place where I carried my membership.
Even the basic truths of homosxuality and the bible are fought tooth and nail by their doctrine and perverted to make sure that what they believe is in agreeance with the spirit that is within you. So that you will begin to see the familiarities in YOUR spirit and THEIR doctrine.
Postscript: The Sojourner Truth UFC in Seattle appears to be defunct or no longer with the UFC movement as it is not listed on the organization’s web site. The founder of the church died in August (2009?) according to a gay newspaper. The former pastor is now in the church’s “mid-atlantic jurisdiction”.