A bishop who was forced to resign from her Baptist church after marrying a woman has formed a new congregation.
Bishop Allyson Nelson Abrams stepped down from her role at Detroit’s Zion Progress Baptist Church in October, after she announced she was married to a woman.
The 43-year-old was previously married to a man, but she had announced to her congregation she had married Diana Williams in Maine, deeply dividing her conservative parishioners.
Resigning at the time, Abrams had said: “I know how important it is for congregations to stay together… I didn’t want to split the church any further over this issue.”
However, she has now found a more accepting home, becoming the pastor at the gay inclusive Empowerment Liberation Cathedral in Silver Spring, part of the Metropolitan Community Church.
She told USA Today of gaining national attention: “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen… I was amazed at how many people wrote me, and still write me.
“I didn’t realize how many people the church has wounded, they talked about their negative experiences.
Resolving to form a new gay-inclusive congregation to help those in need, she was able to secure a partnership with an Episcopal church, to share their space in Maryland. Over 100 people currently attend.
The church also has an internet outreach presence, with regular worship and Bible study on YouTube for those not able to attend.
She said: “It’s an amazing fit.
“I want to be able to bring healing to those who have been hurt, just love them, and bring them back to God’s presence.”