- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2017

A historic church in the heart of the nation’s capital has hired a married lesbian couple as co-pastors.

Calvary Baptist Church in northwest D.C. announced the hiring of Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen on Jan. 8 during morning worship, where they were approved by the congregation.

“We have found it so easy to fall in love with Calvary and its longstanding commitment to be a voice of justice and compassion for those who perpetually find the wholeness of their humanity disregarded and maligned,” the pastors said in a press release issued by the church.

The progressive church severed its ties with the Southern Baptist Convention in 2012 over, among other things, the denomination’s opposition to same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. It is an affiliate of American Baptist Churches USA.

Carol Blythe, chair of Calvary’s Ministerial Selection Committee, said Calvary was impressed with the couple’s vision for the church during the hiring process.

“As we met and talked with Sally and Maria about their vision for pastoral leadership at Calvary, we were struck by their deep faith and commitment to being part of a gospel community,” Ms. Blythe said in a statement.

“We were impressed with how their gifts, talents, and experience matched our ministry priorities — and we are thrilled about their upcoming pastorate and the versatility the co-pastor model will provide our congregation,” she continued.

The married lesbian couple will take over as co-pastors on Feb. 26.

They come to Calvary from Greenville, South Carolina, where Ms. Sarratt was an associate chaplain for behavioral health in the Greenville Health System and Ms. Swearingen was associate chaplain at Furman University. Ms. Sarratt was also filling in as part-time associate minister at Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The couple met and were later ordained at First Baptist Church of Greenville, which adopted a nondiscrimination policy in 2015.

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