CONCORD/KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Concord/Kannapolis Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays has announced that Rev. Nathan King has received its 2017 Concord-Kannapolis PFLAG Advocacy Award which was presented to him by board member Don Gale at the March 18 fundraising banquet.
King grew up in Chatham County in Bonlee, N.C. and has been in Christian ministry since he was 18 years old. He serves as pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Concord, N.C.
He first became involved with PFLAG in Rowan-Salisbury several years ago where he attended meetings with several church members, he said. “I spoke at meetings occasionally on the topic of what the Bible really says about being LGBT. Our church facility currently hosts the Concord/Kannapolis PFLAG now in its third year. I also advocated for a PFLAG entry into the Concord Christmas Parade this past year,” King shared.
His church has been at the forefront of acceptance and inclusion. King said that “acceptance and inclusion permeate everything” they do as Trinity UCC. “From the people who greet you when you come in our doors the first time, to our presence with booths at Charlotte and Salisbury Prides the past eight years, to Sunday school discussions, to sermons, and our Sunday morning hugfest (also known as the Passing of the Peace), acceptance and inclusion are a part of who we are as people who follow the way of Jesus.”
When asked if he had an LGBTQ child or family member and what propels him to advocate for the LGBTQ community, King said, “I’m sure I have LGBTQ family members though none of them have ever disclosed their sexual identity to me. Really there are two greatly inspiring reasons for my advocacy. One is the people I know who are friends who may also identify as LGBTQIA. I love them. The other inspiration is my faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ way of being in the world was to be compassionate and accepting with all, and especially those who are cast aside and cast out because of their identity. Advocating for the rights of people who are treated as ‘other’ is essence of the justice the Gospel of Christ always brings.”
He is an accepting man and said, “Through the voices and lives of many beautiful and wonderful people in my life who have been, and are LGBT, the voice of God has come. And through deep study of Christian scriptures, the voice of God has come. And my journey to accept and embrace people of all identities has happened over many experiences.”
Events that shaped his life in serving others came from early childhood where he was exposed to a helping church life. And, that has carried well into his adulthood.
“I grew up going to a church where helping others was part and parcel of what it meant to believe in God. People often think Jesus was a leader. And he was. But his leadership was most fully recognized in his being a servant. In the United Church of Christ we have a saying: To believe is to care. To care is to do. Faith and action go hand in hand. And action is about serving others and doing justice. It is the call to Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly with God that most shapes my work and service. That, and, I just love people! I love people who wear their hair differently, who are a different color, or ethnicity, or sexual identity, or who believe differently than I believe. I love the diversity that God has created and I believe everyone is a person of worth created in the image of a loving God, to relate and live as Christ lived.”
The event included a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, raffle and a concert by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte. After expenses, the organization cleared $2,600 and will use the funds for the chapter’s mission to educate, support and advocate for the LGBTQ community.
Nominees (individuals, groups or organizations) for the award are made by the organization’s membership or regular attendees at meetings and events. Selection is based upon demonstrated leadership excellence and/or high visibility within the local LGBTQ community; contributions to creating a culture where the local LGBTQ community is supported and embraced; and affiliation with and/or active support for local LGBTQ organizations.