Sometimes all it takes is a safe space for someone to find their home in, but Rev. Beth Goudy would rather Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley be known as a “brave space”.
MCCLV has been holding services in Bethlehem since 1984 and although its exterior seems small in stature, the people inside have hearts big enough to accept all.
Rev. Goudy serves as the spiritual leader of this church whose unique acceptance policy opens the doors to people of different race, gender and sexual identity.
“Safe space is important, but we also have to be challenged. Some think as a safe space as a place where you don’t have to grow, yet we all have to grow and be challenged. We want to be known as a brave space for people to be who God called on them to be,” Goudy said
MCCLV celebrates God’s love for all those believing that God designed them to be who they were meant to be. MCCLV, since its foundation, has always welcomes members of the LGBT community while still holding the beliefs of a Catholic church.
Born in Iowa, and raised as a Roman Catholic, Rev. Goudy loved the Catholic Church, the rhythms and energy that surrounded it, which most churchgoers feel when they go.
Goudy, when she was a young woman, felt a connection to the ministry, however, the Catholic Church only ordain men. Goudy also knew she was openly gay, which is a denomination that is not widely accepted by the Catholic Church.
MCCLV celebrates all styles of life and accepts all those who walk in the path that God had designed for them, accepting themselves for who they are and finding unison in worship.
Acceptance never came easily and in 1999, the year Goudy joined MCCLV, the church didn’t have a directory. “Members were afraid that if their names got out, that people would know they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. They were afraid they would lose their jobs or lose custody of their children,” Goudy said.
Fear can be the ultimate deterrent, but MCCLV provides hope, faith, love and acceptance to those who worship and love God. As the leader to the flock, Rev. Goudy is not anxious about being gay and finds nothing shameful about being a member of the LGBT community.
“When your spiritual leader, is open about it (being gay), that helps others become more open about who they are and how God made them,” Goudy said.
Transitioning into the LGBT community without support can be difficult, however, in MCCLV the churchgoers provide their own community which love in God and understanding of each other are the foundation.
MCCLV is just like every other church with a thriving choir, bible study, serving the homeless, and much more. The uniqueness of this church, however, is that a majority of their churchgoers identity as LGBT.
MCCLV also proudly helps sponsor the Adam Blake Irvine Memorial Scholarship fund, which is one of the many scholarships that are offered to students who identify as transgender at NCC.
So if you are looking for a place to worship God and a space were all people are accepted then MCCLV is the place to be. The church is located at 1401 Greenview Dr., Bethlehem, PA, 18018 and their website is www.mcclv.org.