Detroit bishop, Allyson Abrams, has resigned as pastor of Zion Progressive Baptist Church after disclosing to her members that she was involved in a same-sex marriage.
Abrams confessed that she married the pastor of Imani Temple, Bishop Emeritus Diana Williams, earlier this year in Iowa; where same-sex marriage is legal. Imani Temple is located in Washington, D.C. and is part of the African-American Catholic Congregation. They were joined in marriage back in March but had planned to keep it quiet until Abrams was ready to discuss it publicly.
Rumors about the marriage started spreading throughout the church and Abrams felt pressured to open up to her congregation.
Abrams said she could have been like so many others and lied about it but said that’s not how she was raised. She was raised as a Christian and was taught to be a truthful individual. So once it surfaced she decided it was time to step up to the place, be honest with her members and share the truth about a great event for her.
Abrams, 43, talked to her congregation about her union on October 6. She told them she didn’t want to be a distraction so she was stepping down.
Many of her congregates shared their support and said they still loved her. One of the members already knew the name of Abrams wife.
Abrams served as pastor of Zion Progressive for over five years but as of October 18, she officially resigned.
Abrams said she has always preached about inclusion and openness. She’s never directly touched on same-sex marriage because she didn’t feel that it was necessary.
She said she’s been progressive in her theology and as a result had gotten to the point where she was open to any type of love; however it came.
This marriage is actually Abrams’ first relationship with any woman. She was married once before to a man and has three adult children from that union. She said it is wonderful how her wife fits right in
Abrams said Williams is without a doubt her best friend, a tremendous support system to her and an all around wonderful person. She said they have a lot in common; similar missions, visions and goals. They complement each other very well in their quest to serve God.
Amid Detroit’s many churches and nationally known pastors, Abrams has distinguished herself. She was only 38-years-old when she became pastor of Zion Progressive; one of the youngest at that time in Detroit. She is well-respected in the city’s community of believers.
Abrams attended United Theological Seminary and holds a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree. She also attended Howard University where she earned her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.
Although Abrams said she has received her fair share of negative feedback she has also been given tons of support from other pastors.
Abrams said everyone is made in God’s image and likeness. No matter who you are, what you look like, your color, gender and even sexual orientation. Everyone is made in God’s image.
She continued by saying that so many people are hurt and wounded; they’ve been cast out and even pushed to the point of self-destruction based on the religious community.
Abrams said one thing that has really hurt her for years is that churches are saying gay people are going to hell. She said that many male ministers are hypocrites because they are living their true life in the closet.
Abrams believes when people go to church, especially those that usually don’t, they want to be affirmed and welcomed. Affirming someone just means they are accepted just as they are and are free to serve in any capacity as a church member.
If a same-gender loving person can play the organ, sing in the choir and clean the church, why can’t they lead the church? Why can’t they preach and teach? “God does the proving of ministry and he is the one who that anoints us” said Abrams.
Abrams has also resigned from of positions she held within other various faith-based organizations.
Abrams said even though she not with Zion Progressive she does see herself speaking as a guest at other churches. She said God has called her to be a pastor and she has intentions of leading a church again in the future.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)