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LGBTQ-Affirming School Closing After Churches Stop Funding

LGBTQ-Affirming School Closing After Churches Stop Funding

Urban Christian Academy private school in Kansas City, Missouri.

Despite offering a Christian education approach, the school had funding stopped after being openly supportive of LGBTQ+ rights..

A private school in Missouri that had been growing since its creation is closing because administrators stressed publicly that the school was supportive of LGBTQ+ students.

Urban Christian Academy in Kansas City had been thriving in its neighborhood, providing an education for kindergarten through eighth graders — free of tuition.

The school reportedly had always embraced an “inclusive theology,” which included supporting and affirming LGBTQ+ students and staff. But it wasn’t until the winter of 2021-2022 that the school’s co-founder, Kalie Callaway-George, decided to voice the school’s inclusivity explicitly.

As a result of a change in rhetoric toward LGBTQ+ people and an increase in violent acts and hate crimes committed against them, she said it was no longer possible to support the LGBTQ+ community quietly, the Kansas City Starreports. The school updated its mission statement and website to affirm LGBTQ+ rights and published a newsletter informing the school community of the change.

The decision came with stark ramifications.

During the following six months, Callaway-George said the school lost 42 percent of its funding. By the end of last year, more than 80 percent of funding had dried up.

The school relied on donations from churches and congregants to keep the school operating and pay student tuition. The school’s open and affirming posture has seemingly made it a pariah among the Christians who previously supported it.

A total of eight churches that provided funding for the school withdrew support, “citing a disagreement of values based on the inclusion of the LGBTQ community,” Callaway-George told the Star.

“We find ourselves in a season where we are running on very few resources, and each time attention is brought to the issue, we are bombarded by hate, which further distracts from our ability to care for the scholars we have in our care,” Callaway-George said.

The school has also received hate mail since the news of its LGBTQ-affirming stance made its rounds.

The Star reports that Urban Christian Academy raised nearly $334,000 in December 2021 but only $14,800 this December.

The school has had to cut the number of grade levels it offers, leaving frustrated parents and saddened students in the wake of difficult decisions administrators have had to make.

School officials have reached out to area churches that are affirming to LGBTQ+ people, but none has offered financial support, Callaway-George told The Star.

Administrators announced to parents in December that the school would close permanently, and officials have been helping families find alternative schools. Upon the conclusion of the academic year, May 24, the school will close for good.

“We are meeting with each family individually and have received an enormous amount of tenderness and support. UCA is a really sacred place and there is so much grief around losing the community that has made it so, so special,”Callaway-George said.

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