Fort Washington Collegiate Church

New York, New York

Project Director: Mx. James Admans

To emulate Jesus’ love and concern by renewing worship in light of the gifts, needs and justice concerns of the transgender community and queer communities of color.

Summarize your grant project and how it will address a need in your worshiping community.

We seek to implement a programmatic transformation of our worship experience to be more inclusive of and attentive to the needs, identities, and justice concerns of the queer community in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because we are a justice-oriented church following the example of Jesus, who taught us concern for the most marginalized, our project's focus is specifically on centering the voices and concerns the transgender community and queer communities of color. 

What two questions might you ask about worship in the coming year that will generate theological reflection and shape your project?

How does centering the voices and experiences of the trans community and queer communities of color shape our understanding of justice, care for one another, the kingdom here on earth? How will our worship services transform our theological understanding of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ? 

How will your project impact the worship life and habits of the congregation?

We recognize that being an open and affirming (ONA) church requires intentionality and resources, and our hope is to live out our values for caring and seeking justice for the LGBTQIA+ community. From this project we hope to “queer the church.” The most powerful to do that is by queering our community’s heart and center: our weekly Sunday worship. As a team, we believe that this project will enlighten many of our current members about queer experiences and faith journeys, grow our existing community, and provide opportunities to offer visibility about what it means to be a queer or trans, especially in relation to Christian faith. 

What might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

Part of our grant is the creation of a queer liturgy online zine with the hope that contributors will be able to contribute their pieces to our worship services. The challenge that comes with this is how to technologically integrate these voices if contributors are not able to come to in-person worship. Another challenge is ensuring that worship encourages a responsive element to take action and seek justice in the wider community. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

To learn about how churches use this grant to center social justice as part of their worship experiences, how liturgy and the arts can be creatively incorporated into worship, and how churches are using technology in worship.