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Offline Jessica_Rose

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Atlanta queer-friendly Black church is source of solace for LGBTQ youth: 'I look over and see my people'

Story by Alex Portée

Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen III has a theory: Churches that oppress LGBTQI+ people are not churches.

Allen is the senior pastor and founder of The Vision Cathedral of Atlanta, which he began with his husband in 2005.

Today, the predominantly Black Pentecostal church has some 3,000 fellowshipped members, most of whom are LGBTQI+. And, like many organizations that serve marginalized groups, it rests on a historical foundation that the church fought to mold so that its members would be accepted.

“When people of color, Black people couldn’t find solace in white LGBTQ spaces, we created our own," Allen tells about the church's mission. "We created our own of everything, whether it was our own fraternities and sororities, our own institutions, our own churches.”

When Vision first purchased its cathedral in 2010 — it was previously Confederate Baptist Church — it sat at the intersection of Ormewood and Confederate Avenues. After much effort, Allen and his parishioners were able to have the latter street name changed to United Avenue in 2018.