Churches have often been some of the places where LGBTQ+ individuals feel most excluded. But Chase Oaks Church in Plano hopes to create an inclusive environment for all.
On October 6, the Revoice conference began a three-day celebration and learning opportunity at Chase Oaks Church. The goal was to bring together LGBTQ+ individuals, allies and community members to worship and learn about inclusion in churches. During the conference, over 700 people attended to gain guidance and experience.
Pastor Jeff Jones has been in the Chase Oaks community since 2003 and has set out to make the church a place for worship for people from different backgrounds. For the second year in a row, Revoice has held its conference in Plano and has had a big impact on many people.
‘We exist to inspire others,” Jones told Local Profile. “The Bible says “all people’ and we truly believe that. All people are welcome regardless of their sexual identity.”
Jones explained that even today, LGBTQ+ groups are considered controversial in many religions, and Christianity is no exception. He shared that those who identify as gay Christians often are “hit from both sides.” One side is those who do not believe in the marriage or partnership between a same-sex couple, and the other side is LGBTQ+ individuals who see religion as a method of oppression. But Jones hopes to change both of those perceptions by creating a space that shows love and acceptance to all.
Revoice is a St. Louis-based program that focuses on bringing more individuals into the church without facing discrimination. Their mission states, “We envision a unified, faithful, and peaceful Church where these individuals are able to grow in holiness and in their knowledge of the scriptures, knowing that they are of infinite worth and value to their Creator.”
Revoice not only focuses on helping the LGBTQ+ community find religion but also helps others become better allies to their friends and families who identify as LBGTQ+. This year’s conference was a huge success according to Jones and he hopes to continue to build his relationship with the LGBTQ+ community through sermons and other events.
“It was beautiful,” Jones said. “There isn’t really any other way to describe it.”