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Published June 09, 2013, 11:05 PM

East Grand Forks church showing acceptance of gay community

East Grand Forks, MN (WDAY TV) - An East Grand Forks church is now the first of its kind in the region to formally accept the gay community.

By: Kayla Strayer, WDAZ, WDAY

East Grand Forks, MN (WDAY TV) - An East Grand Forks church is now the first of its kind in the region to formally accept the gay community.

The Family of God Lutheran Church is officially part of the Christian group "Reconciling Works", which supports gay rights.

A small white sign that sits at the front of this 75 member church has just one word...welcome.

Pastor Sonja Brucklacher, Family of God: “We welcome all into the fullness of God's love, regardless of who you are. Everybody is welcome.”

At a time when many churches are shying away from gay rights issues, or speaking out against them, this congregation takes a step in the other direction.

Anita Hill, Lutherans for Full Participation: “We don't see any reason why gay people should be excluded from the church.”

Brucklacher: “Open doors, open hearts, open minds to everyone.”

The church's council president, George Kelley, says he and his husband immediately felt welcomed here ten years ago.

George Kelley, Family of God Council President: “This is home. I've always said this church has the right name. This is the Family of God.”

Anita Hill, the regional director of Lutherans for Full Participation, presented the Reconciling Works certificate during the Sunday morning service, officially making this church welcome to all.

Hill describes her start with the organization.

Hill: “Actually my coming out is what brought me to the Lutheran church. I fell in love with a woman who happened to be the organist at a Lutheran campus ministry setting.”

That was nearly thirty years ago. Hill says it wasn't always easy, but things are getting better.

Hill: “I would say I spent most of the Sundays in the 1980s doing Sunday morning meet the homosexual show at this church and that church because people hardly knew anyone. Times have changed a lot.”

Members are yet to decide if they'll allow gay marriages at the church.

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