Church and faith have always been a part of my life. My parents are ministers. My younger brother is a pastor. I went to the same church for 30 years.
And then a few years ago I decided to be honest about my sexual orientation and attempt to forge a life as a gay Christian.
Since my family’s church was not gay-affirming, this meant I needed to find a new church. It wasn’t easy, but after a few months I did find an affirming church. And while there were plenty of other gay Christians like me, what I found more interesting was the conversation the church was having was less about being gay, and more about deconstructing and reconstructing their previous, mostly evangelical, beliefs. They were reclaiming the gospel. Many had grown up in the church, but had left it for a time because they couldn’t reconcile what they had been taught with their life experience. They were re-shaping their faith so it lined up with their experience and what they knew to be true.
I can’t begin to express how many great conversations I’ve had since that day. Conversations about faith, family, resources, etc. Since then, I’ve been to conferences around the country and just finished a leadership co-hort with The Reformation Project. Honestly I’ve never been more excited to be a part of the Church than now. For such a time, right ?
I created Forge to share all these things. The people. The conversations. The stories. The resources. All of it.
There is a revival going on now, and the affirming church is in the midst of it. I’m excited to take my place… and take you along with me. Here we go !
About our founder…
Justin Hershey grew up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. He was raised in the church and spent many summers traveling the world, as his family operated an International Christian non-profit organization. After a decade long career in ministry himself, Justin decided to reconcile his faith with his sexuality, which resulted in the eventual loss of his job. Since then he has been studying and pushing conversations towards LGBTQ inclusion in the Church.