Our Story of Loss & Opportunity...
Park Ave is a haven for LGBTQIA folks and in the world of Baptist Churches, unfortunately, this is rare.
The congregation has been around for about 150 years. We have deep roots in the community of Grant Park, Atlanta - so deep - that almost when a nearby Baptist Church sold its building in the early 2000s, they bequeathed a part of the sale of this property to Park Avenue Baptist, where its last remaining members had found a new church home.
What a great opportunity! This regular income helped the ministries at Park Ave greatly over the years.
Until the season of Advent in 2016 - when PABC received a letter from the foundation administering the funds of the multi-million dollar estate, which informed us they will not be adhering to the wishes of the congregation. We were promised $500,000 through a donor advised fund that ceased immediately.
The reason given for withholding these funds was our church’s commitment to our LGBTQIA family. Park Ave is grateful for our LGBTQIA members, deacons, ministry leaders, and pastoral staff. Together, we affirm all people as made in God’s image and will continue to be a safe place for those who have experienced harm because of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a sacred part of who we are as a congregation, and no amount of money will make us question that God given directive. As we say often: we will not retreat, we will not be silent. Even if it costs us.
We tell this story because of the great injustice of this type of policy.
We know that our work to spread an inclusive, radically loving, justice-centered approach is in alignment with our Christian values, but there are still far too many who do not believe that the love of Jesus extends and celebrates everyone.