Michael Stephens grew up in Kansas City and has experience in the Christian Church (DOC), United Methodist, Episcopal and Southern Baptist circles. Since 2002, he has been the pastor at Southwood United Church of Christ in Raytown which is very progressive theologically and works toward social justice in many areas symbolized by the full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ people.
Michael has been a part of and held leadership positions in ministerial alliances in every community where he has served as pastor. Raytown’s ministerial alliance had voted to become an interfaith alliance right before he came. Ever since, he has been a prominent voice insisting they truly live into that vision. When providing leadership for MLK Celebrations, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfasts, Community Thanksgiving Services and prayers at the City Board of Alderman gatherings he has consistently been sensitive and given voice to the many faiths practiced in our community.
Michael feels truly honored to have a seat at the GKCIC table each month. The vision of that table is a continuing fulfillment of what he sees as a sacred dream for the human family. Unfortunately, we do not always live out the best expressions of ourselves. Michael recognizes a certain tension representing the vastness of Protestant Christianity with a past and present that is not always welcoming of other faiths. While his congregation’s faith leads them to a far more open, welcoming and progressive theology and practice, he is committed to strive to faithfully represent Protestantism in its history, faith, theology and diverse practice. Learn more about the church Michael serves at www.ThatChurch.us.