Orlando's Joy Metropolitan Community Church, which caters to gay and lesbian worshippers, is having trouble attracting young people to its pews, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Opened in 1979, the church is now finding it difficult to woo congregants -- only one quarter of people aged 18-29 regularly attend church. Compounding attendance issues for Joy Metropolitan is that some other churches have become increasingly welcoming to gay people and their families.
Jim Birkitt, the former communications director for Metropolitan Community Churches, disputes the Sentinel's take on JMCC.
"It's not the Orlando church that's imperiled, it's journalistic standards that are in question," Birkitt says. "The article's sidebar, 'Religion and Youth,' is from Lifeway Research. Lifeway is a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is overtly antigay. That research provided by an antigay group was used in this article and that the nature of the group is not revealed should raise serious questions about journalistic ethics and bias. Those questions are compounded by the factual errors in the article. For example, the article wrongly states that only 20 young people attend Joy MCC. The correct figure is 20% of the congregation -- not 20 people. Much of the story is based on this erroneous figure."