Couple and singing duo Jason and deMarco will perform at Columbia’s Garden of Grace United Church of Christ on Aug. 21.
Photo Credit: Van Der Kolk Photography

Columbia’s Gardon of Grace United Church of Christ, an LGBT-welcoming and -affirming congregation, is set to celebrate its 17th anniversary Aug. 21. The special event will be marked by a concert with Houston-based singing duo Jason and deMarco.

Tickets to the event, which is open to the public, are $15 and can be bought at Money raised at the event will go to support the church’s five-year capital campaign, which kicks of on Aug. 22.

Garden of Grace Pastor Andy Sidden said the church plans to raise at least $100,000, but is challenging its members to reach a goal of $150,000 or more. The funds will be used to help pay down the church’s mortgage. A fifth of the money will be donated to the United Church of Christ for new church construction, leader training, technological improvements and other needs.

Sidden was optimistic about his members’ ability to raise the funds.

“We have a history that shows we can do it,” he told qnotes, pointing to two prior campaigns in which the church rasied $85,000 and $125,000 in just a few years. “We’re optimistic that in five years we will raise the $150,000.”

The church has seen steady grown over the past five years, with 127 members presently. Sidden said he attributes the growth to a desire for more inclusive and welcoming worship experiences.

“Our church is multicultural and multiracial,” he said. “We are a third African-American and at least a tenth or fifteenth heterosexual. Those are the fastest growing membership segments.”

He added, “There are a growing number of people who are progressive and who are looking for churches that are peace and justice oriented. Those are the people we are attracting. : :

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.