A small Mennonite town in southeast Manitoba has become home to the first LGBT church in the region. Landmark Gospel Brethren Tabernacle opened its doors in April and, according to senior pastor Benjamin Friesen, the fledgling congregation has already seen considerable growth.
“It’s been a shock, really. You don’t expect to have a packed building every Sunday when you first start out. But the response has been tremendous. We’re attracting people from all over, not just Landmark. Some folks have come from as far away as Winnipeg.”
The pastor at LGBT, which meets in a local farm implements dealership, noted that the new parishioners seemed friendly.
“A lot of really nice people. Two young ladies drove in together from the city. They even brought along what they called a ‘pride flag,’ which I think is great. We all should be proud to be believers.”
The non-denominational church had considered joining the Quaker denomination, but decided against it. “As a Mennonite, I have a strong affinity for our brother Quakers,” Friesen said. “I even made a church logo – LGBT(Q) – but in the end we felt the Lord was leading us to go out on our own, so LGBT it was.”
Despite the tremendous success of the church, Friesen sees further growth in the future. “Outreach is very important. We want people to know that God loves everyone, not just those of us here in the LGBT community.”
The church meets each Sunday at 10:30. LGBT Sunday School begins at 9:00.