We had the good fortune of connecting with David Fox and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, how do you think about risk?
I don’t like risk. I have spent so much of my life focused on being safe physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But all of that kept me in the closet and it wasn’t until I came out to family and friends (when I was 48) that I realized that our greatest fears don’t usually come about – or if they do, we grow past them to the point where they have no hold over us.
Starting a Christian word-of-God and faith-based church that is primarily about making sure the LGBTQ+ community understands that God adores them pretty much separates us from both the Christian community and the LGBTQ+ community. I often feel like the cross over section of a Venn diagram; that shaded bit where two circles overlap. And while I’m happy about leaving much of evangelical christianity behind I certainly don’t want the LGBTQ+ crowd to throw is in with the church at large.
So, I have learned, and am still learning, to take risks. I am afraid of talking on the phone but will do it anyway because it helps people. I am afraid of being in crowded rooms of people I don’t know – well, even rooms full of people I DO know are daunting – but will do it anyway if it means people hear that God loves them. I am afraid of knowing that church is just not the same as it has been in the past – especially in this post-pandemic era where people’s preference for gatherings have been diminished and they’d much rather get what they need in virtual platforms at their own leisure. (NB: I am fully supportive of this methodology!) But that’s a direction I will take Pink Church in anyway.
It’s a risk to set up a completely digital church. And that’s what I am doing. I heard a preacher once say, “When we are afraid to do something, do it afraid.” I suppose that’s the point. When David the shepherd boy met the giant Goliath, he sounded so full of courage, but I don’t think the enormity of the opposition was lost on him. He was fully aware of the fearfulness of the situation. My belief is that when I am doing things afraid, God’s strength becomes evident because there’s no way I could achieve what I do in my own strength and with my own abilities. It worked for David. It works for me.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Pink Church is an affirming church of the Christian faith. Affirming churches fully accept LGBTQ+ people into the church community without expectation that they change their orientation or gender identity. We believe that LGBTQ+ people can be fully involved in the life of Pink Church which means leading ministry, participating in the sacraments (including communion and marriage), and raising children in the context of faith. We believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit is available for everyone and spiritual gifts like healing, speaking in tongues, and prophesy are given by God freely to all.
A brand-new direction for post-pandemic Pink Church is that we are propelling forward into an era of mostly digital church. Online expression of our faith is becoming the main thing we do without ignoring opportunities to meet together. Our Sunday meetings, our study groups, and our support for the LGBTQ+ community is primarily in virtual spaces. We no longer occupy a building.
We continue to support Joshua Tree Feeding Program in their work among people living with HIV and make this one of our opportunities to fellowship in practical ways.
Pink Church is developing an archive of original Christian music written by LGBTQ+ people in the hope that other churches across the nation – even around the world – will include those songs in their worship.
A series of inclusive, devotional videos is being produced that recognizes the need for a queer theology without compromising the very fundamentals of who Jesus is and what he achieved on the cross and by His resurrection.
I am really excited about two series we are working on. “Food Queen” is a program co-hosted by a drag queen that focuses on food preparation using ingredients entirely from food banks (like Joshua Tree Feeding Program) and dollar stores. Another series will be an encouragement for people dealing with addiction (or just bad habits they want to stop).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It’s a short list!
The Botanical gardens. I don’t care if they are into gardens or not – everyone needs to see desert flora at it’s very best.
Gadzooks. The only solution (aka cure) for people stuck on the likes of Subway. Popo’s – the original on West Indian School Road – has the best “especial” on the planet. There’s an Indian restaurant in Avondale and an Italian restaurant in Florence worth taking guests to. Seriously, there are so many great little food dives in Phoenix there’s no need to stick to the ordinary chains that are everywhere else in the country.
South Mountain Park and Reserve is always on the itinerary. I love taking people to look over our beautiful valley from Dobbins Lookout.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
At the top of my list of people who deserve recognition is my husband, George. He puts up with everything about me. For me it was love at first sight at an Easter sunrise service but for him it took some convincing. I can’t think of anyone else I want to love until death parts us.
My Mum (That’s not a spelling error. I’m Australian). She has been an exemplar of parental love and acceptance. I planted a giant tree in our front yard as a memorial to her and she’s not even dead yet.
I have a friend, Marisa, who has been very faithful to the mission of Pink Church for years. Above and beyond that she is a dear friend to George and me. If ever I’m in prison I want her to be my cell mate – she can get her hands on anything you need. Anything!
There are numerous others in church circles: Bishop Randy Morgan, Apostle Mike Whited, Pastor Aaron Crowley, and Pastor Jasmine Jones. I feel dwarfish among them. And if ever I can’t get myself to Jesus, I know they’d carry me. See Matthew 9:1–8, Mark 2:1–12, and Luke 5:17–26.
Jesus. I’m a Christian so I should include Him in the company of those who deserve recognition. I didn’t recognize HOW much He loves me until I came out. It was then that I realized that His love is utterly unconditional and there’s no part of who I am that He doesn’t know, understand, accept, and love.