Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — Mt. Pleasant’s local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or PFLAG has announced a partnership with the First Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant.
The group identifies two churches in Mt. Pleasant as partnering on this issue.
According to First Presbyterian Pastor Trey Hegar, they are excited to announce this partnership especially during Pride Month to let area residents know that they welcome all.
“It’s important for LGBTQ people to know that they are accepted at our church. This congregation is committed to being a radically loving and welcoming community of faith. We believe it is our responsibility to follow the teachings of Jesus and bring the kingdom of God to the world through love of and service to others,” Hegar said.
Bob Mueller, president of the PGLAG chapter, said he is excited to be partnering with First Presbyterian Church and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church as the two known welcoming churches for LGBT people and families.
According to Mueller, it’s important to have places where people can worship and be accepted.
“They showed me the welcoming statement, and I thought finally I can accept this church, because I hadn’t been in church for 50 years. The LGBTQ issue is big with churches because most churches have been our biggest enemies,” Mueller said.
With multiple members of their church being either parents, friends, family of LGBTQ people or being gay or lesbian themselves, Hegar knew it was important to support church members. Making it plain and clear that they accepted everyone, their welcoming statement leaves nothing to be misconstrued.
“If you are Asian, Hispanic, Black, or white … If you are male or female or transgender … If you are straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual … You are welcome here! All are welcome here,” stated the welcoming statement on the church website.
Hegar expressed the importance of having an accepting community that you can share your experiences with.
“The reason we want to be a supporter is because we have several families with lesbian or gay children, we have a family with a transgender daughter, and we want to support those families and want to support an organization that supports them,” Hegar said.
One experience in particular led Hegar to realize that as a straight white male it is important to accept others for who they are.
Hegar was a Marine stationed in Nagasaki, Japan, on the anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on the city. With protests and riots on the street, Hegar felt what it was like to be unwanted in a space. Hegar realized that this is what LGBT individuals feel everyday.
“It was the first time I ever felt like my presence was unwanted, and a lot of LGBTQ individuals can feel that way about churches,” Hegar said.