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The Lazarus Project

1977 - 2007

There is evidence of the LGBTQ+ community throughout scripture and Christian history. Along the way, these voices have been silenced, edited, or simply ignored till the suppression of non-conforming identities became theological oppression of countless children of God. In this American context, this became even more prevalent after the 1946 mistranslation of the Bible to include the word “homosexual.” Attempts to heal a history of intentional harm require faithfulness and courage. The Lazarus Project put these traits on full display, alongside deep compassion, persistence, and an unconditional love that those in the Christian community know best through Jesus Christ.

The Lazarus Project grew out of the very visible need for a more authentic ministry to the LGBTQ community around West Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Rev. Ross Greek had been working with many unhoused people in the Church's neighborhood and realized how many's circumstances were connected to their gender identity and expression. Funding came from multiple sources, including the Presbytery of the Pacific, Synod of Southern California and Hawaii, and the national Presbyterian Women's Opportunity Fund. This investment along with the commitment of West Hollywood Presbyterian Church allowed for the Lazarus Project to be launched and Chris Glaser to be called as its director. 

Here is how the project originally defined itself:

The Lazarus Project is an outreach ministry within the gay and lesbian community. Its purposes are:

  • To welcome gay and lesbian people into the West Hollywood Presbyterian Church, providing spiritual and emotional support as we all seek to understand our faith in the context of our given sexual orientation.

  • To work for social justice for gay and lesbian people in the community and in the broader church.

  • To help nongay people understand gay and lesbian people, combatting homophobia in the Church and society, and enabling reconciliation among gays, lesbians and nongays.

  • To support the gay and lesbian Christians in other churches.

       -From The Lazarus Project's brochure (1981)

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Overview and History

Overview and History

Impact on MCC development and growth

To Be Added

Impact on WHPC --

To Be Added

 

Impact on West Hollywood UCC-- Growing out of WHPC roots

To Be Added

Impact on First Presbyterian Church of Baldwin Park, CA

To Be Added

History passed on to Covina Community Church, UCC

In 2023, the communion table from First Presbyterian Church of Baldwin Park made its way to a new home at Covina Community Church, known in the community as "The Rainbow Church." The congregation was selected by the last members of First Presbyterian due to their public advocacy and commitment to the LGBTQIA2-S Community. 

While Covina Community Church was not part of the movement during the Lazarus Project, they are a modern evolution of the movement, asking "what's next?" They are not content with simply welcoming everyone, and committed to working towards reconciliation, healing, and a deeper understanding within our broader culture. The congregation recognizes its work would not be possible without the efforts of early trailblazers and they trust that God will call others to build upon the work they  are doing today.

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