by Dawn Bennett
The Table – Nashville is an ELCA mission development congregation in the Southeastern Synod, authorized by Bishop Kevin Strickland, served by the Rev Dawn Bennett and located in downtown Nashville, Tenn. We are an LGBTQ+-centric congregation. Our mission is to provide spiritual guidance and healing for folks who experience rejection and bigotry due to homo/transphobia as they learn safe and edifying ways to re-engage with scripture, God, and faith-based relationships. Although our active membership is in the Nashville Metropolitan area, our Sunday evening service streams live on Facebook and has viewers from all over the United States and several territories and countries.
There is so much misinformation, misquoted scripture, and hatred directed toward the LGBTQ+ community, and the stress level within the community is high, especially among transgender members who fear for their very existence. In today’s political climate, the need is great. The Table aims to provide a space where everyone has equal access to God and sacred things in an environment where spiritual exploration facilitates healing.
At our Spring WELCA Cluster gathering, an exciting development happened! As of April 22, 2023, The Table formed and chartered the nation’s first and only LGBTQ+ WELCA group. We are so proud of this accomplishment and grateful to the churchwide executive board for approving our Special Unit. In keeping with who we are as a church, we include all women regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. At that Cluster meeting, two women of The Table were elected to the WELCA King Cluster Leadership Team of the Southeastern Synod.
The group picture, taken in the fall of 2022, is at the Southeastern Synodical Women’s Organization convention in Decatur, Ga., where we were welcomed so warmly by the participants. The convention experience showed us that forming a WELCA Special Unit in our congregation was the next right step.
To learn more about the ministry of The Table or access our advocacy resources, please visit thetablenashville.org. To chat with Pastor Dawn, please connect at [email protected]