Is there a place for LGBTQ community in churches in Maine?
According to a Pew Research Center study 51 percent of LGBTQ Americans are religiously affiliated, most identify as Christians.
That same study suggests that many people in the LGBTQ community view churches as being unfriendly toward them.
Greg Bridges-Music is an Assistant Pastor at Hammond Street Congregational Church in Bangor, but his journey as a minister hasn't been an easy one.
"I had been a pastor for a number of years, and had questions around my sexual orientation," Bridges-Music said.
Before moving to Maine, Bridges-Music was kicked out of the ministry at his church in England. It left him feeling heartbroken and abandoned.
"I lost my ministry. I lost family. I lost reputation," Bridges-Music said, "I was really angry with God."
Bridges-Music's story isn't too different from what many in the LGBTQ community have faced.
He says many have found that some churches don't fully accept who they are.
"We want to share with them that God loves them," Terry Dinkins, Pastor of The Mansion Church, said, ""We want them to know repentance."
Bridges-Music says It's this message of repentance that makes many feel their sexuality or identity is at odds with their faith, but he feels it doesn't have to be that way. He found a second chance at ministry in Bangor. Bridges-Music says there are several churches in the area, including his, that will accept people of the LGBTQ community without wanting them to change who they are.
"I went through a lot of loss, a lot of heartache to be true to who I am on this path," Bridges-Music said, "I think that that’s made me a better pastor and a better Christian."
He hopes his story will help others who are still coming to terms with who they are and what they believe in.