‘Everyone is always welcome’

First Baptist Church’s Q-munity group gathers monthly

Based at First Baptist Church of Moorestown, Q-munity is a group of more than 30 LGBTQIA-plus (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual plus others) who gather monthly.

“Seven or eight years ago, Q-munity started, and we had just a growing number of LGBTQ people in the church,” said Associate Pastor Rev. Jennifer Bradley. “We were just trying to look for ways that we can get together, and part of our mission statement is that we provide spiritual and social support to the LGBTQIA-plus community, and our allies are always welcome.”

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Past events include summer barbecues, beach and lake hangouts, book studies and movie nights.

“The big part of Q-munity is that we have our monthly gatherings,” Bradley noted, “and every fourth Sunday of the month, we get together, we sit around a bunch of tables … and just have a good time, talk, catch up, get to know one another.”

“I think that’s really where a lot of folks have formed some really important friendships,” she added. “And we have a lot of shared experiences with church that you can’t always talk about with other people.”

“ … We also try to find ways to give back and just educate ourselves and the rest of the LGBTQIA community,” said Bradley’s wife Sandy Lehr. “Nov. 20 of every year is National Transgender Day of Remembrance, and for about two or three years, we would partner with another local church and we had a memorial service where we read some of the names of some of the transgender folks who have been unfortunately killed or murdered throughout the course of the year.”

This summer, Q-munity held a Say Gay Pride Dance that raised $900 for two LGBTQIA-plus organizations – GLSEN and The Attic Youth Center – helping to combat “Don’t Say Gay” bills and legislation across the country.

“That came out of just feeling really helpless with all of the anti-trans laws that have been/are being passed or brought up for consideration across the country,” Lehr explained. “And a lot of them, unfortunately, are aimed at high-school or younger kids.”

Bradley and Lehr encourage joining Q-munity.

“ … Everyone is truly welcome,” Lehr noted. “Whether you go to First Baptist Church or not … whether you’ve been here once, whether you’ve never been but you’ve just seen that First Baptist of Moorestown is having a Q-munity event at someone’s home, everyone is always welcome.”

“ … I think the other thing I would want people to know is that our allies are extraordinarily important,” she added. “… You know that these people love you exactly as you are no matter what.”

“We know that there are people who come to Q-munity who have a very strained relationship with their parents,” Bradley said. “Then there’s also others of us who have had strained relationships with our parents, and to hear people in their 60s, 70s and 80s say, ‘I can’t believe someone would ever say x, y and z about you’ or ‘I can’t believe that you were not welcomed at that church,’ it’s very affirming and comforting.”

“I think part of our struggle in the LGBTQ community is there isn’t a lot out there where we can gather together,” she continued. “It’s nice (that) we know once a month we’re getting together, we’re hanging out, sharing a meal and catching up and getting to know new people and making new friendships and maintaining old ones.”

For more information on Q-munity, visit https://www.fbcmoorestown.org 

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