Catholic church in Lexington hangs banner welcoming LGBTQ community
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Catholic church in Lexington is making a statement that's getting attention.
St. Paul Catholic Church on W. Short Street put up a banner letting members and supporters of the LGBTQ community know they are welcome at their church.
"This is a church that's open to all people and hopefully, this sign gets that across," said Stan "JR" Zerkowski, facilitator of Catholic LGBT ministry.
The sign reads, "LGBTQ+ Catholic - Family, Friends & Allies - All Are Welcome." The banner has been up for weeks and will continue to stay up through Lexington's Pride Festival.
"I don't think a Catholic church has ever had a sign like this before in front of it during Pride week or any other time. However, in other parts of the country, we see this regularly," Zerkowski said.
Fr. Chris Clay sent a message to St. Paul parishioners explaining the banner is, "a small way of counteracting any experiences of hostility, rejection, and silent treatment that LGBTQ Catholics may have experienced."
"Our LGBTQ sisters and brothers should not be afraid to come in here, will not be feel judged, will not feel as though they are trampling on territory that isn't theirs," Zerkowski said. "This is their home and we want them to know that."
Nick Ralston has attended St. Paul church for two years. He is a member of the LGBTQ community and said he wants others to know they can feel accepted in a faith setting. Ralston said this banner serves as an intentional invitation to those who may have felt unaccepted before.
"Now they can know that there is a place that they can come, that they are loved by God, and they are welcome no matter what," Ralston said.
On Saturday, there will be an LGBTQ Catholic booth set up during the Lexington Pride Festival where people can stop by. Fortunate Families, a Catholic organization dedicated to supporting parents of LGBTQ children, will also be there.