LGBTQ-Friendly Churches And Religious Organizations In Florida

LGBT Friendly Religious Organizations

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For many LGBTQ+ people, religion can be a touchy subject. Religious communities are meant to be a place of comfort and solace, but sadly, too many queer people have experienced rejection and condemnation from religious communities. It’s no wonder many are distrustful of them!

The good news is that there are more and more religious movements these days that are taking a more inclusive stance and opening their doors to everyone. In Florida, a state that sees some of the highest numbers of gay tourists each year, there is no shortage of these kinds of religious organizations.

Whether you’re planning a vacation or looking to relocate, you can turn to this list to find an LGBTQ-friendly church near you.

Central Florida

1st Unitarian Church of Orlando

Location: Orlando

Religion/denomination: Unitarian

The Unitarian Universalist Association has expressed an LGBTQ-affirming stance, stating on its website that not only do they open their doors to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, but they also “value diversity of sexuality and gender and see it as a spiritual gift”.

The 1st Unitarian Church of Orlando, or 1U, is no different. Described as a diverse, democratic, and dynamic religious community, 1U is accepting of all people, regardless of religion. While not exclusively an LGBTQ+ church, 1U has taken the initiative to make LGBTQ+ members feel welcomed and accepted. The church also has a contingent in the yearly Come Out with Pride parade in Orlando and has also advocated for GSAs, adoption, and other local issues affecting the queer community.

If you’re wondering what church accepts gay marriage in Orlando, 1U is your answer. After marriage equality came to Florida in 2015, 1U became one of the first churches to offer free weddings to same-sex couples.

Joy Metropolitan Community Church

Location: Orlando

Religion/denomination: Metropolitan Community Church

The Metropolitan Community Church is a global religious organization that has been at the forefront of civil and human rights issues across the globe, including racial justice, climate change, and marriage equality. As such, it is often regarded as an LGBTQ church. MCC has churches all over the United States and in over 20 countries around the world, from Kenya to Australia. It is the very first church to perform same-gender marriages.

Joy MCC is an Orlando-based church that was founded in 1968 and is one of the largest in the United Fellowship of the MCC denomination. Like other MCC churches, Joy has a “special outreach” to the queer community and has been showing up for LGBTQ+ people since its inception. In the 80s, during a time of rampant homophobia due to the AIDS crisis, the church attended its first gay pride celebration as well as sponsored the first AIDS vigil in Orlando.

Christ Church Unity Orlando

Location: Orlando

Religion/denomination: New Thought Christianity

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Unity is a religious movement that was founded in 1890 as a healing ministry centered on “the power of prayer and the power of our thoughts to create our own reality”. Unity believes all people are inherently good and thus holds an inclusive stance towards LGBTQ+ people.

In their formal Statement of Diversity issued in 1995, the church stated that all Unity ministries and outreaches must be free of discrimination on the basis of “race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability or sexual orientation”. “Our congregation is a diverse and welcoming community,” said Rev. Maggie Alderman, the current senior minister of CCU Orlando. “We celebrate the LGBTQ community and we are filled with allies.”

In 2011, Unity launched an LGBTQ Resource Center where members of the community can find articles, prayer support, and other resources geared towards LGBTQ+ concerns. CCU Orlando has also partnered with LGBTQ+ non-profit Zebra Coalition to hold an LGBTQ Youth Cultural Competency training for the church.

First United Methodist Church

Location: Gainesville

Religion/denomination: United Methodist Church

The institution of the United Methodist Church is not LGBTQ-affirming, broadly speaking. However, there is a growing movement within the church called the Reconciling Ministries Network that seeks to “advance justice and inclusion for all LGBTQ people” in and outside of the church. The movement, which began as a “faith-based response to institutional homophobia braided into the fabric” of the church, comprises over 40,000 individuals and over 1,000 churches across four continents.

One of those churches is First UMC in Gainesville. The church was founded in 1857 as the “mother” church of other United Methodist Churches in Central Florida. First UMC became a part of the Reconciling Ministries movement in 2019 following the General Conference that reaffirmed the United Methodist Church’s stance against marriage equality.

Today, First UMC is steadfast in welcoming and affirming people of all backgrounds, races, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

New Church Family

Location: Daytona Beach

Religion/denomination: Non-denominational

New Church Family is a non-denominational faith community that has a special outreach to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community of Daytona. The congregation’s home base also serves as the town LGBTQ+ community center. According to its website, New Church Family is happy to share its space for weddings, Holy Unions, baptisms, funerals, or memorial services – gay or straight.

Florida Keys

Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church

Location: Key West

Religion/denomination: Presbyterian

Also known as Key West’s Church of the Rock, the Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church was established as the third Presbyterian congregation in Key West in 1957. According to its website, the church is part of the progressive PCUSA, making it an inclusive and welcoming congregation that values diversity and recognizes everyone as a child of God.

Being based in one of the most diverse, gay-friendly tourist destinations in all of Florida, the church abides by Key West’s motto of “One Human Family”.

Florida Panhandle

New Journey Ministries

Location: Tallahassee

Religion/denomination: Apostolic Pentecostal

If you’re looking for a welcoming LGBTQ church in the Florida Panhandle, look no further than New Journey Ministries. The church has a storied history, beginning with the formation of the Prevailing Word Fellowship in Tampa, Florida in 2007. Eventually, the organization joined forces with another local ministry, becoming the New Journey Ministries. In 2015, New Journey merged with the Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals, one of the first LGBTQ-affirming communities of faith in the US.

However, New Journey is not a church in the traditional sense. As a virtual community, the ministry provides members with opportunities to find resources, converse in live video chats, and participate in live events with preachers and teachers. The religious organization also conducts weddings and same-sex civil unions.

Thrive MCC

Location: Tallahassee

Religion/denomination: Metropolitan Community Church

Thrive MCC began as a small bible group in 1992. Eventually, the community grew to become an official church called Gentle Shepherd MCC. Through the years, the church community kept growing, and eventually changed its name to Thrive to accurately represent the present and future of the church. Today, Thrive is a community for “all who need a place to call home” – a community that wants to thrive.

As a member of the diverse and inclusive Metropolitan Community Church, Thrive MCC accepts and affirms people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Pensacola

Location: Pensacola

Religion/denomination: Unitarian Universalist Church

If you’re looking for a community that celebrates diversity, strives for justice, and inspires love, Unitarian Universalist Church of Pensacola is the right place for you. they believe that every person has inherent worth and dignity, and that promoting justice, equity, and compassion in human relations is essential. They encourage your spiritual growth and support your individual path to truth and meaning.

Their covenant is based on the principles of peace, truth, love, and service, and they draw from many sources, including the wisdom of world religions, the guidance of reason and science, and the spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bay County

Location: Panama City

Religion/denomination: Unitarian Universalist

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bay County practices a liberal form of religion, respecting diverse ideas and encouraging spiritual exploration. They welcome people from all backgrounds and aim to grow in mind and spirit, empower individuals, and lead in social justice. Being a Unitarian Universalist means taking responsibility for your own religious life, as they provide a supportive environment to explore and discover one’s own spiritual path.

The group’s seven principles include treating everyone with respect, striving for fairness and compassion, accepting differences, exploring spirituality in an open and honest way, allowing participation in democratic processes, working towards world peace and justice for all, and respecting the environment and all living things.

Northeast Florida

Christ Church of Peace

Location: Jacksonville

Religion/denomination: Transdenominational

While not exactly a gay church, Jacksonville, Florida’s Christ Church of Peace takes pride in its inclusive and accepting approach to people of diverse backgrounds. Its vision is to be “the church of choice for all people seeking a spiritual home” and to be a role model for others in its strength in diversity.

In 2010, Christ Church of Peace was recognized by the Florida Times-Union as one of the churches in the First Coast area that stepped up to become a voice for the gay rights movement.

Riverside United Church of Christ

Location: Jacksonville

Religion/denomination: United Church of Christ

Riverside United Church of Christ is an “open and affirming” congregation that welcomes everyone, regardless of race, culture, gender identity, and sexual orientation. According to their site, the congregation has a “spiritual grounding in commitment to outreach and social justice”. Riverside’s spiritual leader and founding pastor, Rev. Linda Dowling Girouex is an advocate for mental, spiritual, and physical well-being in the context of social justice – she’s also a lesbian who is married to a retired teacher.

Riverside United Church of Christ is part of the United Church of Christ community, which believes that sexuality should not be a basis for denying someone their human rights.

Christ Episcopal Church

Location: Ponte Vedra Beach

Religion/denomination: Episcopal

Christ Episcopal Church is a community of faith that “welcomes and affirms all people”. The church takes pride in its “legacy of inclusion” – the roles of bishop, priest, and deacon are open to people of all genders. Leadership, according to the church, is a “gift from God” and can be expressed by all, regardless of one’s gender, sexual orientation, or identity.

The Christ Episcopal Church hosts an affirming space for queer teens called The Lighthouse Youth Community. This is organized in partnership and with the guidance of LGBTQ non-profit JASMYN. The Lighthouse provides LGBTQ+ youth opportunities to share their experience with peers who may understand and empathize with them.

The Well at Springfield

Location: Jacksonville

Religion/denomination: Baptist (independent)

The Well at Springfield is a new community of faith, founded in 2011 out of a desire to provide a safe and welcoming space for people who want to “ask difficult questions” and “practice the way of Jesus together”. This LGBTQ-affirming church is composed of believers and non-believers alike, as well as activists, religious people, spiritual people, and even church-averse people.

South Florida

Christ of the Holy SpiritSong

Location: Wilton Manors

Religion/denomination: Non-denominational Christian

SpiritSong Church (COHSS) is an independent non-denominational Christian LGBTQ church based in Wilton Manors. Founded in 1999, the church began as a midweek worship service. Later on, the church would provide Sunday services out of hotels in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.

By 2005, the church was relocated to the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale to serve as a safe place for the church-going LGBTQ+ community of the area. In 2009, the church opened the SpiritSong Worship Center inside the Equality Park campus, serving the larger South Florida community.

Coral Gables United Church of Christ

Location: Coral Gables

Religion/denomination: United Church of Christ

Coral Gables UCC aims to be a “diverse and faithful community” where members can find support and nurture growth, be it spiritual, emotional, or intellectual growth.

The church is a member of the LGBTQ-affirming United Church of Christ movement – the first known Christian denomination to ordain an openly gay person in 1972. The UCC upholds a non-discrimination policy towards people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations and is vocal in its support of marriage equality.

Dignity Palm Beach

Location: Palm Beach

Religion/denomination: Catholic worship community

Dignity Palm Beach is a local chapter of Dignity USA, a religious organization centered on advocating for LGBTQ affirmation within the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church, according to the Human Rights Campaign, deems “homosexual acts” as “intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law,” and calls “homosexual tendencies” as “objectively disordered”. As such, there is no official policy on LGBTQ+ parishioners. However, Catechism insists that “homosexual people are called to chastity”.

According to its website, Dignity USA aims to provide welcoming and inclusive liturgical educational, and social services for queer Catholic communities. Dignity Palm Beach meets every first and third Sunday of the month to celebrate mass and fellowship.

Miami Beach Community Church

Location: Miami Beach

Religion/denomination: United Church of Christ

Miami Beach Community Church is another UCC congregation that serves as a safe place for LGBTQ+ Christians to seek comfort and solace in prayer and community. According to its website, the Miami Beach Community Church models the teachings of Jesus through “an open-minded ministry of inclusiveness and compassion”, living out faith “whether feeding the hungry and homeless or marching in the gay parade”.

Temple Beth Am

Location: Pinecrest

Religion/denomination: Jewish

Temple Beth Am is a Jewish Reform congregation located in Pinecrest in South Miami-Dade County. The full-service synagogue has been around since 1955 and provides a range of programs and service opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds.

At the temple, members can join the Dayenu LGBTQ+ support group. Loosely translated from the Hebrew word “enough”, Dayenu is a volunteer-run group where queer people, their friends, families, and allies, can find resources, support one another, educate one another, and find spiritual growth together.

Congregation Etz Chaim

Location: Wilton Manors

Religion/denomination: Jewish

Congregation Etz Chaim is an LGBTQ+ Jewish congregation that was founded in Miami in 1974. Today, the congregation calls the gayborhood of Wilton Manors its home.

According to Rabbi Noah Kitty, her mission at Etz Chaim is to “pilot us in the direction that honors our unique LGBTQ traditions while growing our connections with the worldwide community of Israel.”

Southwest Florida

Church for All People of SWFL

Location: Fort Myers

This is a relatively new church that was founded in 2020 by co-Pastors Rev. Courtney D. Williams and Elder Germany Berlin. Standing by its name, Church for All People opens its doors to everyone, especially “the LBGTQ+ community, the homeless, returning citizens, and recovering addicts.”

The Current – FCC Naples

Location: Naples

Religion/denomination: Disciples of Christ

The Current is a member of The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a progressive Protestant church geared towards social justice. The church is open to “all faiths and questions” and recognizes that each person’s journey towards spiritual fulfillment requires understanding a variety of different disciplines. At the Current, every person is “celebrated as a child of God”, no matter the economic circumstance, sexual orientation, age, gender identification, race, or ability.

Lamb of God Church

Location: Fort Myers

Religion/denomination: Lutheran/Episcopal

Lamb of God calls itself a “boldly inclusive, intentionally challenging, and joyfully Christian” church. Lamb of God is unique in that it is the first Lutheran Episcopal Congregation in the state of Florida and only the second in the entire United States.

The church prides itself in being a “progressive congregation” and a “thinking person’s church”, with a focus on community outreach and mission. Lamb of God welcomes “everyone who feels called to the Lord’s table”, including families and individuals of all types, races, and sexual orientations.

Space Coast

Crossroads United Church of Christ

Location: Melbourne

Religion/denomination: United Church of Christ

Crossroads UCC was established in 1963 as Pineda United Church of Christ (UCC). The church went on to go through several name and location changes over the years, but today, over 50 years later, its heart remains the same.

As a UCC member, the church accepts and respects people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. The church holds several community outreach programs, including a Food 4 Families and Food Pantry program, and provides meeting spaces for support groups for people in recovery. Crossroads UCC also participates in the annual Space Coast PrideFest.

United Universalist Church of Brevard

Location: West Melbourne

Religion/denomination: Unitarian Universalist

UUCB describes itself as a “small, friendly, non-creedal UU society of liberal freethinkers.” Like other Unitarian Universalist religious organizations, UUCB is an LGBTQ-affirming congregation. According to its website, Unitarian Universalism has been ordaining LGBTQ ministers, leading LGBTQ-affirming educational programs for the youth, and promoting marriage equality and equal rights for LGBTQ+ people for over 45 years.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach

Location: Vero Beach

Religion/denomination: Unitarian Universalist

The UUFVB community is open to everyone, encouraging people to express their ideas and collaborate for positive improvements in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Instead of promoting a specific set of beliefs, Unitarian Universalists (UUs) believe that each individual has the freedom and obligation to form their own religious beliefs. UUFVB provides a safe space where people can seek validation and support from a caring and empathetic group of friends. They value diversity and foster spirituality without imposing any particular doctrine or following arbitrary and sometimes irrational rules.

Tampa Bay

Different Church

Location: St. Petersburg

Religion/denomination: Independent non-denominational

Different Church is a progressive and diverse church that touts itself as “truly inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community”. Different Church is different from other religious organizations in several ways, including:

  • Being radically inclusive of people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities, beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds;
  • Having a focus on climate justice. According to the site, the “considers ourselves lucky to be Earth’s caretakers”;
  • Being financially transparent and responsible. Different Church is committed to paying its staff members a living wage.

First Unity Spiritual Campus

Location: St. Petersburg

Religion/denomination: New Thought Christianity

First Unity calls itself a “global spiritual community who welcomes all”. The organization is “spiritual rather than religious” and espouses the values of living one’s truth, connecting with God through affirmative prayer and meditation. The church believes that God is altogether good and all people are inherently good because God’s divinity is inherent in every person.

Some of the programs and activities you can find at First Unity Spiritual Campus include:

  • The Youth Expressing Spirit program
  • An award-winning music ministry
  • Support groups
  • A bookstore
  • Meditation and healing programs
  • Online and in-person classes and workshops

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

Location: Holmes Beach

Religion/denomination: Lutheran

As a Reconciling in Christ congregation, Gloria Dei welcomes and affirms LGBTQ+ people, as well as people of diverse ethnicities, economic status, family status, age, and ability.

The church’s main tenets are community, discovery, service, and celebration. Among some of the church’s community activities and programs are weekend communion services, outreach programs, Monday Movie screenings, and a fellowship hour where members can get together over food and coffee after Sunday morning worship.

Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa

Location: Tampa

Religion/denomination: Metropolitan Community Church

The Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa has been serving the Tampa community for 50 years. It holds the distinction of being the first gay church and LGBTQ+ organization in Tampa Bay. As an MCC member, the MCC of Tampa subscribes to the core values of inclusion, community, spiritual transformation, and justice.

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter

Location: St. Petersburg

Religion/denomination: Episcopal

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter is an Episcopal church and cathedral serving the diocese of Southwest Florida. As an Episcopal church, the Cathedral Church of St. Peter upholds a “legacy of inclusion”, meaning that church leaders may come from people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.

Unity of Gulfport

Location: Gulfport

Religion/denomination: Unity

Unity of Gulfport is a diverse, inclusive and welcoming community brought together by love. Their teachings are based on Truth and not a strict set of rules, doctrine or dogma. Unity brings together ancient wisdom with new interpretations that inspire different ways of thinking. This is a great place for people who might call themselves ‘Spiritual but not religious’.

Final Thoughts

The LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination and unfair treatment in many places. Fortunately, there are churches and religious organizations that offer a safe space for all people to come together and worship without fear of judgment or persecution.

Whether you’re looking for a gay-friendly church or just want to explore the different denominations of Christianity, we hope this list has been helpful.

If you’re planning to tie the knot in a religious ceremony, then I highly recommend checking out The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Wedding Themes. It’s a great resource that can help you find the perfect wedding theme for your big day.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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