Earlier this year, in March, Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams, of Zion Progress Baptist Church in Detroit and Bishop Emeritus Diana Williams of the Imani Temple of the African-American Catholic Congregation in Washington, D.C, exchanged wedding vows in Iowa. For more than five years, Abrams served as pastor of Zion Progress but on Friday, October 18, 2013, Bishop Abrams officially stepped down as pastor.
From News One:
During her tenure as pastor, Abrams said she always preached about openness and inclusion, but never specifically touched on the subject of same-sex marriage. It simply was something she did not feel the need to preach about. What is unique about her marriage is that this is her first relationship with a woman.
”I been progressive in my theology and I got to the point where I was open to love whatever way that came,” she said.
Abrams, who has three adult children and was once married to a man, told the Chronicle how wonderful a fit her new wife is.
“She is definitely my best friend, a wonderful person and is a support system to me in tremendous ways,” Abrams said. “We have a lot in common. We have similar visions, missions and goals. We complement each other very well in how best to serve God.”
Although Abrams said she received tons of support from other pastors, she’s has received a fair share of negative responses but would rather not focus on those. Abrams shared her views on black faith and homosexuality with the Michigan Chronicle:
“We are all made in God’s image and in God’s likeness, which means whoever you are, whatever you look like, whatever your gender is, whatever your color, whatever your culture, whatever you orientation (sexual), everybody is made in God’s image.
“There are so many people who are wounded, so many people who are hurt, so many people have been cast out; people have been pushed to the point where they actually have tried to hurt themselves and have even killed themselves because of what the religious community says about who they are.”
She continued, “One of the things that really hurts me is that for so many years, African-American churches, and maybe White churches as well, are saying that these people (gay) are going to hell. Some ministers (male) are being hypocrites because behind the scenes they are right there doing stuff. Many people, especially young people and the unchurched, when they come to church, want to be welcomed and affirmed.
“There is a difference. If I’m affirming you, that means that I am accepting you as you are and that you are free to serve in any capacity in the church as a member. If a same-gender loving person can clean the church, play the organ, sing in the choir, they should be able to lead the church…teach, preach and do all of that.”
As for Abrams future, although she’s not with Zion any more, she does see herself guest speaking at other churches and pastoring again.