In August of 1995 Randy McCain was minister of Music and Assistant to the Pastor at a church in Sherwood. He had held this position since 1991. In 1992 he committed to a lifelong loving, committed relationship with Gary Eddy. At that time there was support from within the leadership of this church for their relationship. However, Randy had been advised not to disclose this relationship with the whole church.
In 1995 the pain of staying silent about a relationship that was so meaningful and Christ-centered was too great. Randy wrote a letter to the Elders of the church telling them of his relationship with Gary stating that he did not feel that this in any way disqualified him from ministry. One week later he was asked to step down from his ministry. Through the pain of this experience Randy and Gary kept hearing the voice of God in their hearts telling them not to give up. The scripture that they held onto was Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
In October 1995 Randy and Gary opened their home for a weekly Bible Study. At that point there were several people who attended this study who had no church to call home. One such friend was Becky Rudy. She continually asked Randy why a new church could not be formed for all who feel that they do not fit into the other churches in town for one reason or the other…the disenfranchised. Randy and Gary had already decided that they could not attend any church where their relationship would not be celebrated by those in the faith community.
So in January 1996 Open Door Community Church had its first worship service attended by Randy, Gary, and Becky. They met in the living room of Randy and Gary’s home. Randy stressed that although he and Gary are gay, Open Door Community Church was not an exclusively gay church. “We are a part of the church of Jesus Christ which consists of all who profess Christ as Savior,” Randy stated in an early meeting. “The church must be an open door for all who are hungry for God, who are searching for meaning in their lives, who need our Savior Jesus Christ, and who need the fellowship of the body of Christ, yet have been told or have been made to feel in the past unwelcome in the faith community.” Randy then read from the book of Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet: “Is this the kind of fast that I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is in this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not turn away form your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you…Then you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and the Lord will say: Here I am…If you do away with the yoke of oppression, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then shall you rise in obscurity and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58
Open Door Community Church has become a safe place to many who are searching for answers to their spiritual questions…a safe place to worship God, to form relationships, and to eat at the table of the Lord on equal ground with all of God’s children. May we always provide an “Open Door” to the oppressed, the poor wanderer, the hungry, and the abused.