Diversity Richmond will host RVA Black LGBTQ History: The Old and the New on Monday, Feb. 22 from 7-8:30 P.M., 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220. The event is free and open to the public.
The program will feature a cinematic social history of the Black LBGTQ movement in Richmond with a panel discussion with leaders in today’s Black LGBTQ movement. Guest panelists include the Rev. Derek A. Terry who shared his coming out journey on OWN Network’s Iyanla: Fix My Life and was also recently featured on CNN‘s Great Big Story: Preaching the Love of All.
Early church services were all in German, then an English service was added in the 1920′s. The church was 100% white until the 1990′s and hired it’s first black assistant pastor in the mid 2000′s.
Rev. Derek is the first black head pastor of the once very conservative and once all white congregation.
Rev. Derek is also the first openly gay pastor at the church.
The church is multicultural and multiracial (about 60% white 35% black). The members of the church are from a variety of political beliefs as well (many democrats and republicans in the church). The average age of a church member is 63 years old. Even though the church is full of old, white, conservative Christians they hired and absolutely LOVE their young, black, openly gay pastor.
The worship services are lively and the sermons thought-provoking. Two individuals did leave after Rev. Derek came out on the Oprah Winfrey Network but more have come to be apart of the church.
The congregation is proud of their pastor and proud of the work he does. The church is steadily growing and adding younger families and individuals to the fold. They attribute much of their new success and motivated spirit to the energy and excitement of Rev. Derek’s ministry.
“I was walking around wearing a mask,” the Rev. said. “For a lot of people being Black, gay and Christian are three intersectionalities that cannot come together… It is extremely liberating to come to church, to come to church and stand before people as I am, who I am.”
This event will provide an intergenerational discussion of where the movement has been, where it is now and where it is going. The program will journey the unique and very different paths of Black LGBTQ persons versus their counterparts such as spirituality, familial relationships, cultural bias/stigma, highlighting the challenges, struggles and strengths of the movement.