Ten LGBT-friendly places to worship

It might be easy to think that houses of worship are off-limits to the LGBTQ community after perusing national headlines. But in our fair city, there are a surprising amount of gay-friendly options for exploring one’s faith of choice. If you need a place to start, here’s ten faith communities that have our community buzzing:

1. Bodhi Spiritual Center

2746 N. Magnolia,
Chicago, IL 60614
This eclectic worship center, which describes itself as “transdenominational” is open to all, and considers itself “non-religious.” If you’re looking for spiritual tools without dogma, this could be a good fit for you.

2. Saint Clement Church (Catholic)

642 W. Deming Place
Chicago, IL 60614
Despite official church teachings, many gay Catholics have found a welcoming and tolerant home at St. Clements. Known for its strong young adult programs, this could be a great fit if you split from the church in your teens, and are wanting to reconnect.

3. Hyde Park Union Church (Baptist)

5600 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637
A diverse community with a rich tradition of social justice. If you like a lot of energy in your church service, look no further.

4. Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation

303 Dodge Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60202
Northside Jews flock to JRC, for its welcoming and inclusive community, its beautiful space (the only “green Synagogue” in the Chicago area) and the stirring and thoughtful rabbi that has been acclaimed by Newsweek magazine as one of the 25 best pulpit rabbis in the Unites States.

5. Urban Village – (United Methodist Church)

3 locations, including Andersonville
If you’re looking for a hip and modern service that will challenge you spiritually, deepen your relationships, and maybe get you out of your seat singing everything from U2 to Aretha Franklin, word on the street is, this is the place to be on Sunday morning.

6. St. Gertrude (Catholic)

1420 West Granville Avenue
This Edgewater parish has a rich tradition of social justice, and is an exceptionally diverse and welcoming community with an LGBTQ faith-sharing group that meets regularly.

7. The Church of St. Paul & the Redeemer (Episcopal)

4945 S. Dorchester Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60615
This congregation thrives on it’s diversity, and welcomes all to the table, no exceptions. You’ll feel the joy when you walk through the doors, it’s contagious here.

8. Unity Temple (Unitarian Universalist)

875 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
Just a short hop to our near western ‘burb of Oak Park to enjoy the thoughtful service you’ll experience at Unity Temple. If you value community over religious dogma, this would be a great fit for you.

9. Congregational Church of Jefferson Park (United Church of Christ)

5320 W. Giddings
Chicago IL 60630
An out lesbian pastor heads up this LGTBQ-Affirming church. How’s that for putting a dent in the patriarchy?

10. Ebenezer Lutheran Church (ECLA)

1650 W. Foster Ave.
Chicago IL 60640
This Lutheran community in the heart of Andersonville is a “reconciling” church, which means that all are welcome. The community presence is strong here, as is the Spirit.

Are you a part of a welcoming faith community that you’d like to rave about? Please leave us some details in the comments section.

For a more detailed list of gay-friendly churches in the Chicago area, visit: http://

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About Val

Valency was born in San Francisco to hippie parents, but is a Chicago girl through and through. Ten years of Catholic school helped her develop a finely-tuned bullshit detector, as well as a love of all sorts of Catholic kitsch. Valency isn't fond of labels. She is, however, fond of embracing her many paradoxes, and walking the fine lines between religion and politics, with an eye turned toward postmodern religion, feminist theology, and challenging patriarchy from inside religious institutions. She lives on the northside with her two daughters and two female cats, and is always looking for more ways increase the estrogen in her household.


7 Responses to “Ten LGBT-friendly places to worship”

  1. I go to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Addison and Magnolia. Both of the pastors are gay, and it’s one of the gayest churches I’ve been in that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard to be a “gay church”. There are tons of families and adorable old people too. If you are gay and Lutheran/Episcopal, I suggest you try it out.

    Posted by Rachel S | October 22, 2012, 3:37 pm
  2. So glad to see my synagogue here! There are also a couple of gay and lesbian synagogues in the city (I think one is called Or Chadash?).

    Posted by Sydney | October 22, 2012, 9:56 pm
  3. What about the Baha’i temple in Wilmette? I think I remember reading that they’re LGBT-friendly too.

    Posted by JT | October 22, 2012, 10:39 pm
  4. I’m looking for a Catholic parish in the SW burbs welcoming to LGBT community. Any suggestions?

    Posted by Christine Sheets | July 29, 2013, 4:08 pm
  5. St. John’s UCC in Evanston is LGBT friendly and has a transgender pastor (me).

    Posted by Rev. Cindi Knox | August 16, 2016, 11:01 am


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