Northwest Suburban Gays Plan to Start Own Church 140-Member Group Will Meet Tonight to Discuss Goals, Desires
Mask, Teresa, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
In search of a church that will embrace them, many suburban gays and lesbians often trek to one of Chicago's "welcoming" congregations or to Hinsdale's Metropolitan Community Church.
Some refuse to commute and, instead, sit "undercover" in area churches where leaders often condemn certain aspects of the life they lead.
It's time, say members of the Fox Valley Gay and Lesbian Association, for a church of their own. Lee Schrank, group president, wants to help create a gay church in Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg or Elgin, where a bulk of the group's nearly 140 members live.
"There's a huge gay population in the suburbs," he said. "People don't seem to know that, but it's true."
He said the group is tired of simply being "tolerated" by churches.
"We don't really like that term anymore," he said. "We want to be embraced. We want to hear sermons that talk about our lives."
Tonight he and other members of the association are meeting in Schaumburg with a Catholic priest to lay the groundwork for the church proposal.
The Most Rev. James Alan Wilkowski has no affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, which believes homosexual acts are sinful.
Wilkowski is part of a small group of people who call themselves Evangelical Catholics. He is the bishop for the Northwest Diocese of the Evangelical Catholic Church of the United States which has less than 1,000 members.
They allow women in the priesthood, accept remarriage, believe in birth control and support those who have had abortions.
"We are in the business of unconditional love and unconditional embracing," Wilkowski said. "Our canons forbid any form of discrimination. We don't have the same hang ups on orientation, gender, ethnicity, age or race."
While the National Association of Lesbian and Gays had the support of Chicago's Cardinal Francis George during their convention in Arlington Heights last year, the church has made it clear there are no plans to change the policy regarding homosexuality. …