The Rev. Neil Thomas, left, and Victoria Anderson

Church leaders at Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, known as the largest predominantly LGBTQ church in the world, this week announced the church’s acquisition of and partnership with Believe Out Loud.

Believe Out Loud will “become a program of the Cathedral that will promote the message of God’s love for all, regardless of faith tradition,” according to a press release, which adds that the program’s mission is “to meet the needs for spiritual content tailored to the LGBTQIA community. These resources will go beyond tolerance and acceptance and use the LGBTQIA experience as a framework for understanding the divine.”

Cathedral of Hope’s senior pastor, the Rev. Neil G. Thomas, said, “In the face of constant efforts to squeeze people who are different out of public space, it is critical to remain grounded in the deep faith that all people are worthy of God’s love. We are excited to partner with Believe Out Loud to spread that message and be an affirming space for all people of faith and our allies.”

Believe Out Loud was founded in 2007 as the Religious Voices Project. Its original mission was to determine where mainline Protestant clergy stand on gay and lesbian equality and assess methods to move more clergy toward LGBT acceptance. The program has has since expanded its campaign “from reaching exclusively mainline Protestant clergy to reaching Christians of all kinds, regardless of denomination, affiliation or role,” the press release explained.

“Believe Out Loud now works internationally and digitally, having evolved to become an online community for LGBTQIA people of faith and allies. The organization provides access to affirming worship services and livestreams, LGBT and faith-related events, connections to justice and inclusion organizations, mental health resources and original content,” the press release continued. “Now operating under the leadership of Cathedral of Hope, Believe Out Loud aspires to be a more diverse space, specifically working to unite people of various faiths and religious experiences to find hope and reclaim their own experience of the Divine.”

Victoria Anderson, former digital and creative content associate for Believe Out Loud, has now joined the staff of the Cathedral of Hope as Director of Content Development.  She said, “The board and staff of Believe Out Loud conducted a thorough national search, including most major national LGBTQ nonprofits, to find the perfect home for our future. We are thrilled that new home proved to be Cathedral of Hope, and I’m excited to join the Reverend Neil and the incredible staff of Cathedral.”

— Tammye Nash