What’s better than having an LGBTI religious leader of faith at your progressive church? How about two?
A historic church in Washington DC has named a married lesbian couple, Sallay Sarratt and Maria Swearingen, as their newest co-pastors.
Calvary Baptist Church in northwest DC announced the hiring during morning worship on 8 January, where they were approved by the congregation.
‘We have found it so easy to fall in love with Calvary and its longstanding commitment to be a voice of justice and compassion for those who perpetually find the wholeness of their humanity disregarded and maligned,’ Sarratt and Swearingen said.
The progressive church, an affiliate of American Baptist Churches USA, severed its ties with the Southern Baptist Convention in 2012 over the denomination’s opposition to same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.
Carol Blythe, chair of Calvary’s Ministerial Selection Committee, said: ‘As we met and talked with Sally and Maria about their vision for pastoral leadership at Calvary, we were struck by their deep faith and commitment to being part of a gospel community.
‘We were impressed with how their gifts, talents, and experience matched our ministry priorities — and we are thrilled about their upcoming pastorate and the versatility the co-pastor model will provide our congregation.’
The couple, who met and later ordained at First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina, take over as co-pastors on 26 February.