HOW WE WORSHIP: MUSIC, SCRIPTURE, HOLY COMMUNION FOR ALL…BRING A FRIEND…and SHARE GOD’s LOVE.
The evolving nature of Christian values
Friday, June 12, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 24
The Rev. Cindy “Cyd” Andrews-Looper’s first message to
Nashville: You can be gay, and you can be a conservative
Christian, and there is nothing mutually exclusive about those two
Her next message: You can be Christian, and you can talk to
angels, and there’s nothing mutually exclusive about those two
Andrews-Looper resigned in October from pastoring the West
Nashville church she founded nearly two decades ago, but she’s
busier than ever.
She’s spending five months consulting, planning and preaching
at Holy Trinity Community Church in Memphis, releasing a book
about her life called “Two Pews from Crazy” and teaching seminars
on plugging into the spirit realm.
“We read about angels in the Bible. Billy Graham wrote a book
about angels,” Andrews-Looper says. “They are God’s messengers,
they are here to help God, and God uses them to impart so much of
what we need.
“They want to work in tandem with us in making our lives
hopeful and living in this place of abundance, but they won’t step
in unless we ask.”
Rev. Cyd Andrews-Looper looks to reach people 40-60 years
old who may be searching for something meaningful despite
Those ideas may not seem in tandem with her ordination in the
Wesleyan church – but she resigned from that when she came out as
a lesbian. Booted from her job as a traveling pastor, she arrived
in Nashville from South Carolina in 1996 to work in marketing and,
still moved to preach, started up a living room-based Bible study
attended by eight people.
By 2006, Holy Trinity Community Church in Nashville was
affiliated with the United Church of Christ denomination, plus had
its own building and three Sunday services.
Her congregation was predominantly gay and overwhelmingly from
Southern Baptist, Church of Christ or Pentecostal traditions –
churches where they were denied full participation or rejected
outright. She performed 10-15 same-sex wedding ceremonies a year,
even though the state of Tennessee didn’t see those as legally
She became an active and well-known figure on Nashville’s
mainstream religious scene.
Last year, already in touch with a spiritual intuitive about
messages she believed were from her dead father – at first through
dreams, but sometimes through the appearance of doves, she says –
Andrews-Looper took her first sabbatical from the church. She
spent a month on Florida’s Gulf beaches, meditating, journaling,
painting, praying and walking.
When she returned to Nashville, she made the emotional decision
to break with Holy Trinity and pursue her new path – a mixture of
Christian theology, Eastern philosophy and New Age spirituality.
Christian faith has an element of fear, she explains, but
that’s not necessary. Perhaps Jesus didn’t talk about vibrational
frequency or the law of attraction, but in John 15, he talks about
living within his disciples and the commandment to love.
She’s aiming her message to an audience of people ages 40-60
who have done everything right, at least in this physical world’s
estimation – earned an education, got a job, joined a church, got
married and had kids. But instead of feeling fulfilled, they’ve
been left underemployed by the recession, divorced at least once,
perhaps addicted to drugs or alcohol or something else – and
Andrews-Looper wants to tell them that none of those surface
things are real.
“My desire is to speak to the very real part of them, the
authentic part of them – their soul,” she explains.
“I want to remind them that they are and always have been an
eternal, spiritual being infinitely loved by God. Somewhere along
the way, when all this was happening, they disengaged the unseen
“The physical realm is defined by scarcity and finiteness. Who
they are is not this physical body. Who they are is their soul.”
Intelligent people can debate that theology. What’s clear is
Andrews-Looper’s passion for it – a passion perhaps lost after
years of preaching her traditional brand of Christianity,
inclusive as it was.
To reach her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Robert Morgan Pearson
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Last Sunday of every month
Holy Trinity United Church of Christ
685 S. Highland
Memphis, Tn 38111
Rev. Cynthia Andrews-Looper
Ignite Your Soul Now Ministries
Beginning Sunday, June 7 2015
11:00 A.M. Worship
Greetings! I greet you with hope in the name of
the Risen One!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to start
working with you the first weekend of June! Some of you may not know
my history with HT-Memphis.
In July 1996, I began a small Bible study in
Nashville, TN with a few friends. I had no idea that in two months
that little group would have blossomed to 25 and would want to start a
church. There was a need for a safe spiritual place for the lgbtq
Christians to attend. I knew that I didn’t want the church to be a
“gay church.” I wanted it to be a church who sought to follow Christ
and live out His unconditional love for all who entered. Someone in
our group knew of and had attended Holy Trinity-Memphis and suggested
that we reach out to the pastor. I did and in early November, I, my
partner and two members of our little church came and spent the
weekend with the Rev. Tim Meadows and his partner, Chris. The
conversations and support we received from them was life-giving to me.
They shared so much helpful information and offered to help in any way
possible. The highlight was worship on Sunday at an old bread factory
that had been renovated and made into a sacred space. The Spirit and
Presence of Christ was palpable. And, there were over 150 in worship
that day!! We were blown away by the vitality of this amazing
congregation. We were filled to overflowing with God’s love from our
brothers & sisters. We were so moved, in fact, that we ask if we could
call our little church in Nashville, Holy Trinity Community Church as
well. And, we did! Your congregation allowed us to use your tax ID
number until we could file and receive our own. We also used the
bylaws already outlined by your church and began our official journey
In the summer of 1998, my son, Hayden, was born.
In the fall, my partner and about a dozen friends made the trip to
Memphis to have him baptized. You had moved from the bread factory to
purchase your own property, a bank which you had renovated into a
sacred space. Once again, the love and support from your congregation
was amazing! Over the years, I stayed in touch with Tim and our
congregations did retreats on occasion. As HT-Nashville began to grow,
it became more difficult to stay in touch. However, the place that Tim
Meadows and the members of the HT-Memphis congregation have held in my
heart has never changed.
I was contacted by the HT-Memphis leadership
about helping with the transition that would follow Paul being called
to another church. Because of the place you have held in my heart for
many years, it took me little time to seriously consider accepting
this assignment. I prepared a proposal that would allow for visioning
and growth into the future. Your council accepted it and I have
prepared a campaign called, Forward in Hope Together. We will walk
together and discover who HT-Memphis is at her best. We will vision
and plan for the future. We will find new connections and renew old
ones. We will step into the divine birthright of abundance and
blessings for HT-Memphis! You will be well prepared for the 25th
anniversary in October. I envision a standing room only crowd to
celebrate this amazing milestone.
I hope you are as excited as I am. This is going
to be an amazing journey together. We will stand back in October and
celebrate what God has done in us and among us. If you have friends or
family who do not have a church home, please invite them. If you know
of members who no longer attend and have not found another family of
faith, please invite them to return. We will journey Forward in Hope
Peace and grace to you, my dear brothers and