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Pastor Speaks Out on Jacksonville HRO After Early Commitment to Promoting Equality August 5, 2016

SusanWhen Susan Rogers moved back to her hometown of Jacksonville after spending several years in Atlanta preaching and finishing her seminary training, she decided right away that her new church would be an inclusive one.

“After finishing seminary and serving a church in Atlanta, I returned home to start a new faith community,” she said. “This new church would welcome and fully include all people, particularly those who are LGBT, into its life and ministries.”

From the beginning, The Well at Springfield has been that kind of church. And for Susan, becoming a part of the movement for an LGBT-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville was a natural fit with her congregation’s needs.

“Getting involved with the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality has been a wonderful way to link our diverse community with practical resources and ways to show our love and support for LGBT friends and neighbors,” she said.

Susan’s first attempt at being a public advocate for the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality’s campaign for the HRO was a small step, but it led to even bigger ones.

“I was offered a sticker to wear in support of an amended HRO for Jacksonville. I was anxious to show my support and did, but after a few times of sporting the sticker, I thought I should find out a little more about what else I could do.”

After that, she began to look for other, more proactive ways to support the campaign. Now, she is part of a growing group of faith leaders who are expressing their public support for a fully inclusive HRO. She’s attending city council meetings, and her church recently hosted a letter-writing event during one of its Sunday morning gatherings.

She’s also actively recruiting other clergy to join the cause through the JCE’s Faith Committee.

“While I am still a relatively new volunteer, I look forward to being part of [the] continued efforts to make our city a safe and inclusive place to live, work and play,” Susan said. “There is much work to be done and many ways to make a difference.”