Ken Wilson founded Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor and served on the national board of Vineyard USA for seven years.
Then, he and co-pastor Emily Swan left Vineyard to form Blue Ocean Faith, a new church that seeks to create an evangelical Christian community in Ann Arbor that openly welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members.
Wilson says that leaving his congregation at Vineyard was difficult, but it’s a move he’s proud of.
“The denomination I was a part of rejected my move toward being fully inclusive with LGBT, and so that necessitated our starting a new church,” he says.
Wilson and Swan teach Third Way, an approach to faith first written in Wilson’s book, A Letter to My Congregation: An Evangelical Pastor’s Path to Embrace People Who are Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered into the Company of Jesus.
According to Wilson, Third Way is a way to approach faith that allows the coexistence of differing views and opinions when discussing moral questions.
“When you have an issue in the church where faithful people disagree about the interpretation of Scripture, you always err on the side of full inclusion,” Wilson says.
Swan describes Third Way as an opt-in approach. “It’s something where you have to lay down your right to be right for the sake of the Gospel,” she says.
“We do what families do,” Wilson tells us. “We say that what we have in common is more important than what divides us.”
Wilson and Swan hope that through Blue Ocean Faith they can continue to provide and grow a safe and loving community for those who have been turned off or turned away by the church.
More information about Blue Ocean Faith and Third Way can be found on their website.