A man in a pink sweater, Kevin Moore, leans on a folding table in front of a 2SLGBTQ+ Pride Flag.
Photograph courtesy of Kevin Moore

Topics: July/August 2024, UCC in Focus | LGBTQ2S+

I grew up in an evangelical church. Now I’m a 2SLGBTQ+-affirming minister.

Rev. Kevin Moore on his journey from the Salvation Army to the United Church


I cannot tell you when I became an affirming Christian — or when I became radically inclusive. I grew up in the Salvation Army, which was, and is, a socially conservative, evangelical Christian denomination. My parents were Salvation Army officers.

About seven passages in the Bible refer to same-sex attraction as a sin. I more or less took those verses at face value during my early years growing up in the church. Things began to change when my wife, Lori, and I attended the Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Toronto.

During that time, we had a year-long internship at a congregation in Toronto. We were given the task of knocking on the door of a former Salvation Army officer who had recently attended a service. He lived in that apartment with someone who grew up in another evangelical Christian denomination. They were not partners, but they were both gay. We would spend a great deal of time with the two of them over that year. Both despised their sexual orientation and wanted desperately to be straight. I don’t know if they ever found self-acceptance as gay men.

We served several congregations across Canada, both in the Salvation Army and in other denominations. Almost without exception, we connected with folks who grew up believing homosexuality was wrong. But many of these folks knew they had a different sexual orientation and hated themselves for it. They begged and pleaded with God to take it away from them.

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The wheels were turning. When it says in Genesis we are made in God’s image, I take that seriously. Jesus says when we reach out a hand to anyone in distress, we are reaching out to him. I also take that seriously. I am not a fundamentalist nor a biblical literalist. But I am a person of faith and a follower of Jesus.

I began to ask myself why God would tell another person who also bore God’s image that they must change who they are. I, as one made in the image of God, did not need to change my sexual orientation to be welcomed by God. Why should anyone else have to?

In 2005, I began a ministry in the St. James Town neighbourhood of Toronto. It was a partnership between the Salvation Army and the Mennonite Brethren. I worked with people of all sexual orientations and people of all faiths or no particular faith. I realized it didn’t make any difference to me. I saw the divine in everyone.

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One Sunday, I walked into St. Andrew’s United in downtown Toronto and stayed. Lori would join me there. I remember going to my first Pride service at St. Andrew’s with a little bit of trepidation. I quickly settled in and realized I was in the right place. Within a few years, I would lead a Pride service there with then-premier Kathleen Wynne. In 2012, I began working for the United Church as a community minister in Toronto’s Regent Park area.

I completed the process of being credentialed by the United Church and entered ordered ministry in 2021. I have been serving as the minister of Port Hope (Ont.) United since September 2021 and am loving every minute of it.

I can’t tell you when I had my eureka moment with all of this. All I know is that somewhere along the way, “All Are Welcome Here” became not just a hymn. It became my life’s work and passion.


Rev. Kevin Moore is a minister at Port Hope (Ont.) United.

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