Published on July 10th, 2015 | by Joanna Sappenfield


Finding gay-friendly churches in Tacoma

Inclusive, LGBTQA-affirming church congregations in Tacoma are not afraid to be public about their doctrine.

They are intentional and unapologetic. When I asked if the gay community is accepted in their congregation almost every voice on the other side of the line would say, “That’s us!”

Here are some responses:

“Human sexuality is a gift from God to be celebrated no matter if a person expresses this gift in mutually consenting same sex or opposite sex relationships. It is important not just to welcome LGBTQ folk but to affirm their sexual orientation. We do that at Immanuel.” – Rev. David Brown, Immanuel Presbyterian Church

Sanctuary at Urban Grace

Sanctuary at Urban Grace

“The inclusivity of our church is founded on God’s love of all people.  When I read the gospels I see Jesus welcoming the stranger, the outcast, the leper, and those on the margins of society. Jesus’ treatment of women resisted the patriarchal culture of Ancient Near East, and similarly the early church confronted ethnic and racial divides by welcoming and adapting their customs to Greeks, Samaritans, and Gentiles. This informs our church’s belief that Jesus calls us to love and accept all people, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.” – Rev. Ben Robinson, Urban Grace

“We think that gays and lesbians are people; they are all children of God. This congregation has held that position for almost 20 years. They are welcomed to serve in any office of the church. Who you love doesn’t affect how we treat you.” – Rev. Sarah Wiles, Bethany Presbyterian Church

“We are thrilled [about the Supreme Court’s decision] it’s something that we have been hoping for and waiting for and sometimes the waiting was hard. Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief. We don’t kick people out. Jesus said to love one another and to us that’s pretty clear.” – Marcia Wilson, Member of Mason United Methodist Church

And an update from a reader: “Christ Episcopal Church have had gay and lesbian clergy for 30-some years and prominent gay activists have been part of the congregation for at least as long.  We helped start Three Cedars, the starting point for AIDS Housing Tacoma, in a rental property the church owned 25-years ago.”

Below are the churches I found that (actually) welcome the LGBTQA community.

Urban Grace – 902 Market St, Tacoma, WA 98402

Bethany Presbyterian – 4420 N 41st St, Tacoma, WA 98407

Exterior of Immanuel Presbyterian

Exterior of Immanuel Presbyterian

Immanuel Presbyterian – 901 N J St, Tacoma, WA 98403

Christ Episcopal Church – 310 N K St, Tacoma, WA 98403

First United Methodist – 621 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98402

Mason United Methodist – 2710 N Madison St, Tacoma, WA 98407

St. Leo Church – 710 S 13th St, Tacoma, WA 98405

Exterior of the Center for Spiritual Living

Exterior of the Center for Spiritual Living

Center for Spiritual Living – 206 North J St, Tacoma, WA 98403

Tahoma Unitarian Universalist – 1115 S 56th St, Tacoma, WA 98408

Tacoma Buddhist Temple – 1717 South Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

Need more options? Check out the mapping function on and let me know in the comments what other churches we should include.

Featured photograph of the interior of Mason United Methodist by Michael Way. 

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About the Author

Joanna Sappenfield

is a recent UW Tacoma grad and aspiring journalist trying to figure out how to live life outside the bounds of academia. So far she's discovered naps and reading for pleasure.

6 Responses to Finding gay-friendly churches in Tacoma

  1. Erik Hammerstrom says:

    The century-old Tacoma Buddhist Temple is also gay-friendly. Please add us to the list.
    1717 S Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

  2. Hello Joanna: I’m the Priest in Charge at Christ Episcopal Church at 310 North K Street. We are an open and affirming congregation, welcoming all God’s children and celebrating the wonderful diversity of the human community. We have a booth at Pride: Out in the Park, and are hoping many will stop by and learn more about us. Thanks for your article. Please add us to the list of gay-friendly places of worship. Blessings, The Rev. Canon Janet Campbell

  3. Atticus Funk says:

    I guess I will ask the impertinent question. Who said they weren’t LGBTQ friendly?

  4. Jan Ruud says:

    I am Pastor Jan Ruud of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by The Narrows in Tacoma and we have been a welcoming and affirming congregation for many years. The Welcome Statement of St. Mark’s says: “As a diverse community of people drawn together by God’s Spirit, we give thanks for the gifts of all those who join us for worship and witness. The center of our life together is Jesus Christ, whose love leads us to affirm our common identity as children of God. In this place for grace, each person’s age, race, gender, sexual orientation, spirituality, special interests, and unique abilities enrich us as the Body of Christ. In that spirit, we gladly welcome you! We invite you to grow with us in love and grace.” LBGTQ people are active in every level of congregational life and mission at St. Mark’s, and many of our same-gender couples have been married here, beginning just a few weeks after Marriage Equality was adopted in Washington State. Please add us to your list of welcoming congregations!

  5. Megan Failla says:

    Do you have a list of LGBTQA friendly black churches in the south sound?

  6. Lutheran Church of Christ the King (LCKK) on 84th Street in Midland is also a LGBTQI-welcoming church. Please add it to your list. Pastor Peter Mohr can confirm this for you.

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