HRC Blog

Coming Out for LGBT-Inclusiveness in Religious Communities

lgbt inclusive religious communitiesThis blog submission is brought to us by Luigi Mandile, the Parish Administrator of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans.

My name is Luigi Mandile and I am the Parish Administrator at St. Anna's Episcopal Church in New Orleans.  My Partner and I came to the church after leaving the exclusionary religious tradition we had both grown up in – we had been disenchanted with the faith community for many years until meeting a priest and his family during the community rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina.  Having nothing to lose, we tried St. Anna’s and five years later we are both still here and thriving with Church as an open gay couple.

The church has a significant number of LGBT persons from our community: the straight and LGBT worship together with no problem or issue.  Since our church is on the edge of the French Quarter area we are in the midst of a large LGBT community. The LGBT community has been over the past years a huge contributor to our missions, even if they do not attend church. The LGBT bars have special events to donate the funds made during the event to one of our many mission, as we are a small Church compared to many in the city.

The Rector of the church acts on what he preaches, no matter who or what you are. The Rector’s wife is always at his side with the same ideals. They have treated the community with dignity. Our Rector on many occasions has performed funeral masses, for the LGBT community, in which they may not have anyone in their family left or they have family but cannot find a church that will allow them to be buried with the dignity afforded to others.

With this, I cannot find one person in the LGBT community that has come to our church and not left without feeling a part of the St. Anna's Church community. St. Anna's is also a high Anglican Catholic Church. St. Anna’s advocacy and inclusion extends across New Orleans, reaching out into their community. They are truly putting their faith into action. I sincerely thank the Rector for changing our thoughts on how church can be and should be.

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