About the publisher

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Located in Dallas, Texas, Northaven United Methodist Church is an intimate and active congregation of about 600 members, and many more consider it their church home.

This I Know is Northaven’s second publication addressing the issue of homosexuality and faith. In 2001, the church released a 50-page booklet entitled “Finishing the Journey: Questions and Answers From United Methodists of Conviction.” Copies of the booklet were distributed to every delegate who attended the church’s quadrennial General Conference, and thousands of copies have since been purchased or downloaded for free from the church’s website.

From its founding in 1955, Northaven has worked to establish itself as a church of social outreach. But the price of taking a controversial or unpopular stand wasn’t fully realized until 1963, a year that turned into a watershed for the church – as well as the entire nation – when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas. Two days later, on Nov. 24, Northaven’s senior pastor, Rev. Bill Holmes, preached about the climate of intolerance in the city, telling of a classroom of schoolchildren who actually clapped at the news of the president’s death. The sermon was seized upon by the local news and it swiftly made national headlines. Community reaction only proved Holmes’ point: A tide of criticism escalated into death threats and, at the behest of law officials, the pastor went into hiding for a time.

The repercussions of the sermon rocked the congregation. Some members left the church; those who stayed wondered how they could live out their faith as change agents in the larger community. Individual members became more politically active. The church hosted forums, guest speakers, and arts events to sensitize audiences to social issues. Combined, they were the seeds of what would eventually grow into a Northaven tradition of activism and the search for deeper understandings of the Christian faith.

Many people in the church took a vigorous stand against the war in Vietnam during the late 1960s and early 1970s, once again making Northaven a distinctive congregation within the city. In 1998, Northaven voted to become the 148th church to join the national network of churches called the Reconciling Congregation Program, all devoted to making the United Methodist Church more inclusive of all people.

The church has since spearheaded a variety of initiatives to encourage hospitality toward the gay and lesbian community, as well as to make an impact on the greater Christian community regarding this issue.

Today, among the hallmarks of the church are a vital worship and music experience, interest in the arts, outreach to the community and beyond, and sensitivity to inclusiveness and fellowship. The congregation now worships in a modern, dynamic space that was opened in November 2005. Its senior pastor, the Rev. Eric Folkerth, has served the church since June 2001.

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