The Greater Kansas City region is the most compact regional ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.

There are open and affirming congregations as well as places of worship where most of the members are people of color (POC). But before 2017, if you were searching for a faith community of both, you would be hard-pressed to find one.

That was until Rev. Dr. Dionne T. Boyice created WHOSOEVER: Community of F.A.I.T.H. (Finding Answers in the HEALING), a Facebook group that provides a safe space for all LGBTQ+ people, especially POC, who want to worship God.

Today, Dionne and the 1,200+ members of WHOSOEVER: Community Of F.A.I.T.H. are active online, with those living in Kansas City, KS and MO gathering in person once a month to worship and provide outreach services. These efforts are made possible with the gifts made to the Pentecost Offering, which supports leaders and communities as the Spirit calls them into being.

Seven years ago, Dionne preached at the first Black PRIDE worship service in Kansas City, MO. Following her sermon, about 25 attendees inquired about her church, citing the lack of local congregations led by an LGBTQ+ POC. Back then, Dionne didn’t have a church nor was she a pastor. But after so many people approached her, she felt called to create a community of faith where Black LGBTQ+ folks, who were suffering from religious trauma, spiritual abuse, and/or moral injury, could praise God.

“I’ve been a Baptist for most of my life. In my experience, the Black church is so vocal when they describe homosexuality as ‘the work of the devil’ or a sin, that they push Black LGBTQ+ people out the door,” shares Dionne. “But these people are still searching for and desire a relationship with God.”

So, she created WHOSOEVER, taking inspiration for its name from the John 3:16 Bible verse “For God so loved the world, that God gave the only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” For Dionne, there are no exceptions to the scripture the way it is written – we are all loved by Christ on the cross, whosoever we are.

“The word ‘whosoever’ means anybody, any person at all,” she explains. “If we teach scripture the way it was meant to be understood, then it’s a difficult argument to make that God sent the Son to be sacrificed for only a select group of people.”

Dionne does not describe WHOSOEVER as a “gay church” or a “Black church,” even though most of its members identify as such. She doesn’t want to exclude anyone who may not identify as LGBTQ+ or Black from attending, being a part of, or worshipping at WHOSOEVER.

“Believe it or not, many POC who are LGBTQ+ don’t want to be a part of an LGBTQ+ church because they were told they would go to hell if they did,” Dionne reveals. “The people who are comfortable in their own skin have no problem with coming right on in.”

In 2018, Dionne reached out to Greater Kansas City Regional Minister Rev. Bill Rose-Heim, who introduced her to National Convocation Administrative Secretary and Associate General Minister Rev. Dr. Delesslyn Kennebrew, the Regional Minister for New and Transforming Churches at the time. This connection saw Dionne be a part of the new church cohort for the next two years.

In the meantime, her congregation connected with other marginalized communities, as well as organizations like PFLAG. WHOSOEVER participated in Kansas City’s PRIDE celebrations and conducted worship services via Zoom. Members joined virtually from Canada, the United Kingdom, Liberia, and Kenya – in fact, most of WHOSOEVER’s virtual members are located outside of Kansas City.

“We are a global ministry,” Dionne points out, “because there are so many cultures that still teach an embedded theology learned hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, they’re not open to a broader context or theology.”

In 2020, she became ordained through the United Church of Christ and moved out east to serve a congregation in Havertown, PA. Despite the distance, Dionne maintained her Kansas City roots and built partnerships with local Disciples, including Minister of New Church Strategies Rev. Dr. Jose Martinez. For PRIDE of that year, he featured Dionne and her wife on his podcast StoryWagen, where they discussed the challenges in finding healing from a church that continues to hurt so many.

“LGBTQ+ people are growing in their faith, rejecting what they’ve been taught about their identity, and are feeling more accepted,” she says. “They’re learning that they are valued by God, no matter who they are or what they’ve done.”

Dionne returned from Pennsylvania in 2022 and the people of WHOSOEVER began to worship together in person once a month. They have gathered at other churches, Dionne’s house, a woodshop, coffee shops, and, even, a grocery store. The following year, she became a Disciple and took part in New Church Ministry’s first-ever hybrid Leadership Academy, which provides educational opportunities for faith leaders, students, and ecumenical partners, no matter their church’s life stage.

Dionne also started taking the first steps in affiliating her congregation with the denomination. 

“I came up with ‘God Did Not Create You To Hate You’ as the tagline for WHOSOEVER because I myself used to associate the church’s practice of pushing us out, with what God wanted,” reflects Dionne. “When churches do that, people stay away from church. We must learn to disconnect the human institution from the body of Christ.”

Church members currently worship in person on the campus of the Kansas City Kansas Community College. In June, they will finally have their own space.

Outside of worship, the people of WHOSOEVER engage in community service. Once a month, they serve free hot soup to houseless neighbors, and they’ve even been able to assist others with their finances and rent.

As for the future and the well-being of LGBTQ+ POC, Dionne believes that the younger generation is “our saving grace.”

“They won’t attend churches that refuse to welcome their friends and family just because they are LGBTQ, or drink, or have children out of wedlock,” she concludes. “They are really trying to live out the answer to, ‘what would Jesus do?’”

To ensure that congregations such as WHOSOEVER can continue to provide its vital services to LGBTQ+ folks, POC, and other marginalized communities, participate in this year’s Pentecost Offering. Half of the gifts made on Sundays, May 12 and 19 stay in the region in which they’re collected to support local emerging and affiliating faith communities. The other half goes to New Church Ministry to support events like Leadership Academy, as well as coaching for new church leaders, educational webinars, and much more.

5 thoughts on “WHOSOEVER: “God did not create you to hate you”

  1. This is amazing. This work sounds like it is such an incredible blessing in ministry! I can’t wait to learn more.

  2. Hi, I moved to the Asheville NC area a few months back. I have tried to find an open and affirming church here in the area. I was a member of National City Christian Church for over 25 years, you would think I could find one myself!! lol

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