Rev. Dr. Terence Leathers appears in the Many Voices Video Campaign, a visibility platform that illuminates the powerful presence of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians and allies within the Black church. Watch and share his video here.
As a minister of God, its important for me to be as inclusive as possible. That is why when Many Voices asked me to be a part of their video campaign, I didn’t hesitate.
My concept of Christianity is based on love, regardless of who you are. When LGBT people come to Mount Vernon Church in Clayton, North Carolina, they’re coming to receive something. They’re not coming to be chastised. I can only be a conduit for whatever message or blessing God has intended for them. The bible, and my concept of Christianity, is based on love, regardless of who you are.
I may not understand everything, but if I love you, I’m going to be supportive of you in the way I know how, and I’m going to ask you to help me understand. If I love you, I’m going to make sure you’re safe, you’re clothed, you’re fed, and you’re sheltered. If I love you, I’ve got to take all of you.When LGBT people come to church, they’re coming to receive something. They’re not coming to be chastised.
In church I pastored, there was a child who was maybe 12 years old. I knew there was something unique about her. She was trying to seek who she was. She became very attached to me and I became very attached to her.
Twenty years later, she got married to a young woman and she recently reached out to me. She said, “You always supported me even though I didn’t know who I was.” I said, “I didn’t know who you were but I loved you.”
I could feel how much those words moved her. Who am I to separate her from who she is? Only she can determine who she is. All I can do is say, “I love you.”
I realized that some people get so sidetracked with who you’re sleeping with when there are more important, pressing things that actually should concern us. In North Carolina, we have some of the most oppressive voting laws. It feels like we’re going backwards. As I get older, I see that it takes all of us working together.
Equality is not a gay issue; it’s not a race issue. We have to work together. Equality is not a gay issue; it’s not a race issue. If we’re going to move through the issues in North Carolina, around this country, and around the world, we have to work together. In order to do that I’ve had to meet people who are different and be ready to receive what’s given to me.
I don’t always understand it and I’m not perfect, but I’m going to ask if you can help me out. I’m going to ask what I can do to make your life easier. But you got to keep informing me.
Education and information are key. I’m committed to finding out more about this movement, serving as a friend, being someone people can talk to, and speaking from the heart to everyone whether they agree with me or not.
That’s where I am and where I’m trying to go. I’m not sure how you’d mark or measure that. And I’m not sure it matters. I just know I’m seeing people for who they are: people.
Rev. Dr. Terence Leathers is a recognized leader in the development and establishment of youth-oriented programs that specifically address their culture and social environment. His work is widely respected by community, civil and governmental leaders. He is pastor of the Mount Vernon Church, located in Clayton, N.C.