The Gay Christian Network, popularly called GCN, is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight ally organization and ecumenical Christian ministry founded in 2001 by Justin Lee and administered from Raleigh, North Carolina in the United States.
The ministry includes social networking and radio programming. Its internet-based radio station has hosted such famous guests as: Actors Chad Allen and Peterson Toscano, psychologist David Myers, musical performers Jason and deMarco, activist organizer Justin R. Cannon, songwriter Marsha Stevens, psychotherapist Ralph Blair and Troy D. Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church denomination. The ministry also maintains a database of welcoming congregations and churches. In 2008, the GCN Action Center was launched as a vehicle for volunteerism: brainstorming, organizing and mobilizing volunteer action in individual communities.
In total, the Gay Christian Network claims over seven thousand members in countries around the world. The organization hosts an annual convention open to members and invited guests. At the 2008 conference, GCN featured American Idol finalist R. J. Helton as a special performer.
In the United States, the Gay Christian Network, like most churches, is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides resources and support to its members. In the spirit of ecumenism, the ministry has individual members affiliated with various Christian denominations, including but not restricted to Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal and other charismatic churches, Presbyterian, Quaker, Seventh-day Adventist, United Church of Christ. It also has members unaffiliated with a church or denomination.
Like church membership, people participate in the Gay Christian Network ministry without financial cost. Members and supporters offer financial support for administration and programming through free-will donations. Recurring donation is promoted through the Grow in Faith Pledge, paid monthly by participants. Financial support is also provided by planned giving opportunities.
The Gay Christian Network as a body has a diverse set of theological beliefs from very liberal to very conservative. The ministry itself does not adhere to a single theological scheme but rather promotes individuality and a membership that remains faithful and respectful of its diversity of traditions. The organization does not seek to embody one set of values but rather sees itself as a network of many different values. It does, however, maintain a "Statement of Faith" which is broadly consistent with orthodox Christian beliefs, asserting the existence of one God, the divinity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, and the importance of living holy lives in service to God. (See "GCN Statement of Faith")
Sex and Christianity
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with: more information about the Side A/Side B distinction.
Further information might be found on the talk page or at requests for expansion.
Members of the Gay Christian Network have expressed a wide variety of opinions concerning gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered life and how it should be lived from a Christian perspective. For instance, the site is committed to being a safe haven both for members who believe it is okay for gay Christians to enter into healthy, committed relationships (including sex) and for those who believe that the Bible prohibits such behavior and requires chastity. On the site, these two positions have been nicknamed Side A, i.e., those members who believe that homosexual activity is not sinful, and Side B, i.e., those who believe that God does love gay people but does not accept homosexual activity.
It should be noted that the Side A members are not advocating promiscuity or other casual sexual behaviors; many of them are looking for a monogamous, marital relationship (e.g. a civil union). Similarly, the Side B members are not advocating an "ex-gay" position; many of them believe that God is not asking them to change their sexual orientation, but simply that they remain sexually chaste. As the site describes the two sides:
Here at GCN, we have two types of gay Christians. On one side are those who are in gay relationships or hope to be someday. On the other side are those who view their same-sex attractions as a temptation, and strive to live celibate lives. We call these views Side A and Side B, and both are well-represented at GCN.
Although both sides have strong contingents on the site, many members have not fully decided which side they belong to. For these members, the site provides a safe place in which to think through these issues and the resources to help people make informed decisions. Another example of the variety of opinions is that many Side A members on the site choose to remain sexually abstinent until they are in a committed relationship and/or legal marriage. These types of beliefs exemplify the conflicts that some gay Christians have encountered with the mainstream gay community.
Reception in the media
The ministry gained national attention with the founder's appearance on Dr. Phil television program's Gay-to-Straight Debate in 2006 where Lee argued against conversion therapy. Lee debated an ordained priest who was a former prostitute who claimed sexual reorientation therapy works. Lee and the website were featured in the opening paragraphs of the New York Times front-page article "Gay and Seeking a Place Among Evangelicals"".
The site has become well-known enough that it was recently mentioned as a resource in the syndicated advice column Annie's Mailbox, written by two former editors for Ann Landers. The column lists GCN alongside such denominational gay Christian groups as IntegrityUSA (Episcopalian), DignityUSA (Catholic), Seventh Day Adventist Kinship International, the GLBT-focused Metropolitan Community Church denomination, and PFLAG, the nation's largest support network for parents, siblings, children and friends of GLBT individuals.
The ministry has also been mentioned (often alongside or through an interview with Lee) in articles on gay Christians and their fight for inclusion in the church, such as the article "Progressive Christians see hope for gay marriage" and the Associated Press article "Gays, lesbians join the chastity movement," which interviews members of the site's "Waiting for Marriage" group. The ministry's annual conference was featured as part of an article on the gay Christian rock group Canaan, some of whose members are also regular contributors to the site. GCN members have been featured on the LOGO TV series Be Real  and in OUT Magazine.
- About GCN (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-12.
- Gay Christian Internet Radio (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-11.
- Current Ministry Work (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-11.
- The GCN Action Center (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-12.
- Gay Christian Network Conference (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-03-11.
- Grow in Faith Pledge (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-12.
- Planned Giving (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-12.
- GCN Homepage (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 5 March 2008.
- For more information, see The Gay Christian "Great Debate" (website). Gay Christian Network. Retrieved on 2008-02-13.
- Dr. Phil Episode 601 (website). Dr. Phil. Retrieved on 2008-02-11.
- Banerjee, Neela. "Gay and Evangelical, Seeking Paths of Acceptance", The New York Times, December 12, 2006. Accessed February 11, 2008
- Annie's Mailbox, 6 February 2008
- Chuck Colbert. "Progressive Christians see hope for gay marriage", InNewsweekly.com, 1 March 2007
- Jeff McMillan. "Gays, lesbians join the chastity movement", Associated Press, 31 May 2007
- Michelle Bearden. "Band embraces being gay and Christian", Media General News Service, 28 December 2006
- Episode 103, "Reconciling Faith
- Stephanie Fairyington, "Virgin Marys," 1 February 2007, pp.46-49.
- Religion and homosexuality
- History of Christianity and homosexuality
- List of LGBT religious organizations
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