Metro Weekly

Finding Your Religion: LGBT-Friendly Holiday Services in DC

Dignity and Bet Mishpachah offer services for LGBT congregants during the holidays

Holiday church services -- Photo by SkyLynx

Holiday church services — Photo by SkyLynx

Christmas can be lonely, particularly if people are unable to get home to loved ones who live in other areas of the country. Dignity Washington has a solution specifically for LGBT Catholics wishing celebrate the holiday — it holds a Mass on Christmas Day at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. If the venue seems an odd one, consider the tradition behind it.

“Back in the mid-80s, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a document saying LGBT organizations have no place in Catholic spaces,” says Dignity President Vin Testa. “So we made the move over to St. Margaret’s, and they’ve let us use their space on Sundays ever since.”

The Mass concludes with a social. “Those who may need a place to go will have an opportunity to spend time with others who are around for the holiday,” says Testa, adding that sister organization Dignity NOVA will hold a Christmas Eve Mass, followed by a dessert potluck social, at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, in Alexandria, Va.

This year, December 24 is also the first night of Chanukah. The LGBT synagogue Bet Mishpachah already held its annual Chanukah party last Friday, but there will be regular Shabbat services on Dec. 23 at 8 p.m., Dec. 24 at 10 a.m., and Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. The synagogue, along with Jewish groups GLOE, Gayyim, Nice Jewish Boys DC and Nice Jewish girls, is hosting “Oh, Gaydel, Gaydel, Gaydel,” a Chanukah-themed event at Number Nine on Thursday, Dec. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. Says the synagogue’s Anne Buckwalter, “[It’s] got more of a happy hour vibe.”

For more information on Bet Mishpachah’s Shabbat services, visit

Dignity NOVA’s Christmas Eve Mass is Saturday, Dec. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, 3606 Seminary Rd., Alexandria, Va. Visit

Dignity Washington’s Christmas Day Mass is Sunday, Dec. 25 at 6 p.m. at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 1820 Connecticut Ave. NW. A social event follows in the basement of St. Margaret’s. Visit

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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