By Donald James | Michigan Chronicle
Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams, outgoing secretary of the Detroit Council of Baptist Pastors, is a Christian spiritual leader, national speaker, theological teacher and author who has built a strong reputation in African-American faith-based communities around Detroit and across the nation. For more than five years, she has served as pastor of Zion Progress Baptist Church, located in downtown Detroit. On Friday, October 18, 2013, Bishop Abrams will official step down as pastor.
Abrams’ decision to leave Zion Progress is based on the revelation she made to her congregation on Sunday, Oct. 6. She announced that she is now in a same-sex marriage. “With some buzz going around about my same-sex marriage, I wanted my church to hear from me before members heard it from other sources. I had already talked with my deacons,” said Abrams. “I knew that it would eventually get to my congregation. So I stood in my pulpit and openly talked about love, Christ, and that I was married, and it was a same-gender marriage.”
According to the 43-year-old pastor, there was a myriad of reactions from the congregation. She said some expressed disappointment and many expressed love and support. Abrams said the next day, a groundswell of calls poured in, some, said Abrams, from members who have not actively attended Zion Progress Baptist Church in years.
“Some members asked me to stay. Some said if I was leaving, they would go with me to another church. Some members even said that if I was going out of the state, they would go to another church.”
Abrams quickly realized that her same-gender marriage had the potential to cause a deep divide, so deep that even families in the church were split on which side of the issue to stand on.
“It is not my desire to split the church,” Abrams said, during an exclusive interview at the Michigan Chronicle office.
“It really hurts me because I don’t want to be the reason for the church to split, and potentially for family members to be at odds with one another. Therefore, I felt that it was in the best interest of everyone to resign.”
Abrams also severed ties with other faith-based organizations in the region. After a nine-year stint with the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit, she stepped down, citing that she didn’t want to be the topic of proposed meetings on the issue, which could have ultimately caused a rift within the Council.
“I want to make it clear that I was not forced out or put out as some rumors have suggested,” said Abrams. “I’ve had many calls from people in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and other places who have asked me about leaving the Council. I was not put out; I resigned.”
In addition, Abrams removed her church from the Baptist Missionary and Education State Convention, as well as the Progressive National Baptist Convention. She also stepped down from her co-editorship of the nationally published Progress National Baptist Convention magazine, The Baptist Progress.
After several decades of serving and leading in the African-American faith community, Abrams knew that her marital status would not sit well with everyone.
Read more: http://www.michronicleonline.com/index.php/news-briefs-original/14999-local-bishop-resigns-after-revealing-same-sex-marriage-part-1