At the heart of our community is the belief that all people are Beloved children of God. We celebrate the beauty of our God-given diversity of race, ethnicity, ability, gender and sexuality. BELOVED is an Open and Affirming Church member of the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance, affirming that people of all gender expressions and sexual orientations are fully welcome at the table of Christ’s communion and to full life and leadership in our community.
In addition, we are “breaking the silence” too long maintained by the church and our society on lived experiences around mental health, suicide, addiction, sexuality, gender and race. Shame has no place here!
BELOVED was first envisioned by our founding pastor, Rev. Dale Suggs, as a ministry for those who have lost their church home because they had been bored, befuddled, beaten, burned or betrayed by the church itself. Because of this, BELOVED began as a community in which those who find themselves on the outside of the church can reenter a holy community in safety and in love.
“We are a movement for wholeness
in a fragmented world.
Imagine God’s limitless love.”
As our community has grown and developed, BELOVED has become much more. BELOVED has become a home for those who have been estranged from the church, who are searching for a new church, and who never belonged to a church in the first place. In other words, everyone! And when we say everyone, we mean you!
Well, that’s our story! We’d love to hear some of your story. Click here to get in touch. We look forward to growing in compassion with you!
BELOVED Way is part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a denomination of Protestant Christianity.
Learn more about the theological foundations of our community below.
Founded in a quest for Christian unity. 19th century slogan: “Unity is our Polar Star.”
No Official Creed
Man-made creeds divide rather than unite the church. 19th century slogan: “No creed but Christ.”
New Testament is Our Guide
All of the Bible is important, from Genesis through Revelation. However, because we call ourselves Christians, we read the whole Bible through the “lens” of Jesus Christ. It is the “good news” of God’s action in Jesus Christ that gives meaning to the whole book. 19th century slogan: “No book but the Bible.”
Weekly Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Disciples believe that “something is missing” if the Good News is proclaimed and the Lord’s Supper is not shared. In like manner, we believe that “something is missing” if the Lord’s Supper is celebrated but the Good News is not proclaimed. Rule of thumb: “If the Lord’s Supper becomes commonplace, then the problem isn’t that we are doing it too much. The problem is that we are doing it badly.”
Priesthood of All Believers
Disciples proclaim that there is “no essential difference” between clergy and laity. The ordained minister is not a mediator between God and God’s people, and does not hold “preferred” status before God. The difference between clergy and laity is that an “ordained” minister has been set aside by God and the church to perform a “representative” function. He or she represents God, scripture, tradition and the congregation. The practical meaning of this belief is that any baptized believer can preside over and administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Conversion is a “Voluntary Turning”
Professions of visions or ecstatic experiences in defense of one’s “saved-ness” are not required. The only requirement for membership is to affirm the “Good Confession” made by Peter in Matthew 16:16. Peter said to Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” When someone wants to place membership in one of our congregations, we ask: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?”
Individual Freedom of Opinion
The church will not legislate morality. The church will teach, admonish and even lead by example, but the church recognizes that the responsibility to “choose” discipleship resides with the individual. 18th-century slogan: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, diversity. In all things, charity.” This is the most difficult of all the historic beliefs of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with which to live. It has led to the formation of not one but three different groups from the original Stone-Campbell movement. Paul says in his letter to the church at Corinth: “In Christ, you have been set free.” What he fails to mention is how difficult freedom can be.