Cynthia Andrews-Looper has come home and is doing well.
Four years after leaving a church she built from the ground up, “Pastor Cindy” feels called to ministry once again. She has been dropping hints on her social media accounts for a few weeks now, but she finally let the cat out of the bag on the day of Boro Pride.
A new church is coming to Middle Tennessee, and it will be the first one planned from day one to be an LGBTQ+ affirming church outside of Nashville. Rise Up Community Church will begin as a Bible study group and transition into a church plant in the Murfreesboro-Smyrna area, according to Andrews-Looper.
“Pastor Cindy” said that Rise Up will be a church where everyone will be welcome no matter their background or life experience. She says that she grew up with an conservative evangelical background, but considers herself to be a progressive Christian believer.
After leaving her former Church in 2014, she wrote a book soon afterwards about her personal experiences that some felt to be controversial. The book told her personal story as a minister and as an open lesbian back in the days when being out could ruin someone personally and professionally. She told her side of the story about leaving her former church and addressed deeply personal issues that left her emotionally wounded, but still standing.
“I’ve walked through some dark moments, but what I have realized is that I am stronger than I was ever aware of,” Andrews-Looper said. “I realize that God has been with me all along the way and have been able to come out on the other side with a message of hope.”
“Pastor Cindy” said that she has had some challenging years since leaving her former Nashville-based church, but she has been learning lessons and applying them to her current life. She said that she is in a good place today and feels that now is the right time for her to come back into active ministry. She is thankful that there are more affirming churches in our community than when she started many years ago, but feels there is still room for other voices too.
“I believe God’s love is for all people and that God has a purpose and design for us and loves us just as we are,” Andrews-Looper said. “There’s nothing we can do that will make God love us less… God is love and God loves us. That’s the heartbeat of my message.”
For more information about this church, click Rise Up Community Church