Church divided on LGBT pastors

GASTONIA — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) seems to be at a crossroads recently as decisions are being made by its congregations on whether or not to allow LGBT people to be leaders of the church.

Dallas’ (N.C.) Philadelphia Lutheran Church and Mount Holly’s Good Shepherd are staying put, but Lincolnton’s Bethel Lutheran Church will be moving its membership to the new North American Lutheran Church (NALC) denomination, which was sprung when churches wished to leave the ELCA. ELCA voted in 2009 to open up its ministry to gay and lesbian pastors, reported the Gaston Gazette.

In order to break away from the ELCA, churches need to be released from the N.C. Synod Council. Several church bodies, like Gastonia’s Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, have already begun to migrate to the NALC, either in totality or by creating new churches, like Kings Mountain’s Advent Lutheran Church, from those members who chose to leave NALC affiliates.

Churches must take two votes and secure two-thirds majority both times under ECLA’s rules in order to leave.

Lesbian couple wins apology

CHARLOTTE — Tracy Thomas and Kelly Johnson just wanted a nice dinner out. What they got was a far cry from that. On Dec. 17, they attempted to have a meal at Dixie’s Tavern on Seventh St., but were the brunt of discriminatory remarks, as well as less-than-satisfactory service.

They waited 20 minutes for a waiter to visit them to take their order. Once they got their drink order submitted, 10 minutes passed and then, once they got the beverages, they decided to leave the establishment. A staff member queried whether they were going to pay for the drinks and they said no. Upon their departure, the staffer said, “‘Good, we don’t want to serve lesbians here anyway,’ followed by cuss words and other degrading remarks,” The Charlotte Observer reported.

Because of the negative treatment, the couple mounted a Facebook campaign to boycott Dixie’s Tavern with an outpouring of support from across the community. To read more on the issue, as well as an account of the events, visit

On Jan. 5, the manager of Dixie’s issued an apology and indicated that the bartender “had been placed on unpaid suspension” and that “staff would be given sensitivity training.”

TOY corps highlighted

CHARLOTTE — Time Out Youth (TOY) has instituted a new way to communicate with its volunteer corps as a way to continue its 21-year work and its upcoming celebration.

Corps members will be sent regular emails and will be notified via its newly created TOY volunteer corps groups on Facebook.

Volunteers are asked to complete a basic application and background check. This has been in place for a number of years within TOY work. Safety is at the top of the concerns for youth participants, as well as maintaining the reputation of TOY. Checks are strictly confidential and are facilitated by Executive Director Steve Bentley and Youth Services Director Laurie Pitts.

In other news, TOY’s evening programs schedule is being changed on Feb. 7 to 6:30-8:30 p.m.

TOY is also planning a trip on Jan. 29 to the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro. Participants will meet at TOY at 10 a.m. and will caravan to the museum. A lunch stop is slated prior to visiting the facility. Admission is $8/students, $10/adults. Volunteers are being sought to drive and/or sponsor a youth’s ticket or lunch. Youth are expected to pay any amount they are able, nonetheless.

To volunteer, visit the website and download the Volunteer Application and/or the Background Check forms.

For more information, email or visit

Charity dinners scheduled

CHARLOTTE — The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) is holding its annual Dining with Friends event on Feb. 19.

This key fundraiser for the organization begins with small, intimate dinner parties with a group of friends. Anything goes from barbeque to black tie. Party planners get a host of support from RAIN including invitations, red ribbons, posters and party tips. The evening is topped off with a finale at the McColl Center for Visual Art, 721 N. Tryon St., where participants can enjoy fine desserts from local restaurants, champagne, coffee and cocktails.

To host a party, visit diningwithfriends to learn more.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.