Brooklyn Heights church prides itself on acceptance, regardless of sexual identity

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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS -

Many religious institutions consider homosexuality to be a sin, however, a Brooklyn Heights church wants to bring everyone regardless of background into its doors.

Regardless of race, religion, or sexual identity, all are welcome at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn.

“As a faith leader, I want people to know that we believe God has made us all beautiful, that God has not made mistakes,” says Adriene Thorne, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn.

This idea is nothing new for the Brooklyn Heights church that changed its mission more than 30 years ago.

“All people were welcome and I think we've just started taking it one step further,” says Thorne.

Many members recall feeling left out of other churches.

“I remember being very young, and talking to my mom again before I was even aware of my sexuality, saying you mean to say that the church won't forgive you for being gay but they'll forgive a murderer? It was very disconcerting to me and I just didn't feel loved,” says church member Patrick Tirino.

Tirino says he felt an instant feeling of acceptance when he came to the house of worship.

“You can walk through that door, no matter what color you are, where you come from, if you're questioning your faith, this community is going to love you,” says Tirino.

The church is not a typical Protestant service, with singing and dancing and there's also room for education.

“I said, this is my partner, they identify as trans and their pronouns are they/them and I really wasn't sure how it was going to go over and when the service was over I had an elderly couple come up to me very curious and say what did you say about pronouns, what does that mean? And it wasn't hostile at all, it was very much ‘oh, I didn't know about this,’” says April Stace, director of education and formation.

On top of holding several events during pride month, there are plans to create a podcast where LGBTQ+ members will explain their experience at the Henry Street church.

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