“Do we remember Andrew Caldwell?” It was almost a month ago that the Church of God in Christ, Inc. (COGIC) gathered for their 108th Holy Convocation in St. Louis, Missouri. I am not a part of the COGIC tradition, yet I am keenly aware of the sacredness of this time of worship and fellowship.
According to its website, COGIC is “a Christian organization in the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition. It is the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States. The membership is predominantly African-American with more than six million members. The Church has congregations in 63 countries around the world.”
The annual gathering brings together persons from COGIC and others outside the organization; from all corners of the United States and abroad. From friends’ Facebook posts, which included videos and tons of photos, I was able to peek inside this year’s convocation.
As I witnessed COGIC’s gathering this year, I could not help but hear the voice of Andrew Caldwell lingering in my conscience. Caldwell became the buzz of social and mainstream media at last year’s convocation, where he testified he was no longer gay. He claimed his conversion came in response to an anti-gay sermon during COGIC’s annual convocation.
“Do we remember Andrew Caldwell?” Raising this question calls us back to conversation, not simply about the event that happened last year, but rather the conversation about black churches and our LGBT brothers and sisters.
Last year, after the conversations from the 107th COGIC Convocation conversations about sexuality and the Church were buzzing, I decided to capture a narrative about a black Christian mother who embodies an affirming love for her lesbian daughter. This is a powerful story to add to the ongoing conversation.
Even when many churches will not affirm and celebrate our LGBT children, there are mothers who are not afraid to walk away from churches on behalf of their children. Be not dismayed there is a minority group of Black parents of faith who love and support their LGBT children.
Take some time and listen to this sacred conversation.