By GERREN KEITH GAYNOR
In a church nestled among a row of residential brownstones, parishioners clapped and danced as a woman began to testify. “Aren’t you glad Jesus got up?” the woman, Twanna Gause, asked the predominantly black congregation, which responded with enthusiastic shouts of “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”
“He got up so I can come out,” Ms. Gause said, as worshipers hopped out of their seats and cheered in agreement. “He got up so you can come out.”
For black Christians who are gay and lesbian, church can be a daunting experience, where on any given Sunday they are taught that homosexuality is not only a sin, but a one-way ticket to hell. That alienation has been a benefit for the Rivers at Rehoboth congregation, in Harlem, which has made ministry to gay men and lesbians, combined with the worship traditions of black churches, its mission.
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