Lavender Magazine Community Award – Individual: Reverend Doctor DeWayne Davis
Raised by a Pentecostal minister in Indianola Mississippi, Reverend Doctor DeWayne Davis grew up as the youngest of fifteen children. Precocious and determined, he first attended Howard University where he earned a B.A in Economics and Philosophy. It was here he met Kareem, his husband of 31 years. Davis initially pursued a career in government, and over the years worked as a health and economic policy analyst, a legislative assistant, a federal relations director, and a domestic policy analyst. His path seemed set for success- everything pointed to a rising career Washington- but something was missing.
“Thank God for therapy!” He told me with a laugh, because at a therapist’s suggestion, he decided to begin re-exploring his relationship with faith. He realized his sexuality at a very young age, and though he always felt that he was loved by God, he did not feel that same love and acceptance from the Pentecostal Church. So, he walked away.
“What I decided was, when I left home was that I was through with this church thing. There was no way that church would allow room for me to be fully who I was.” Coming back to a church setting- even an openly accepting church- and reckoning with his faith was not a simple or quick process. Still, it was rewarding.
“It touched a hunger I didn’t know I had…and so I just kept coming back. I wanted to go deeper.”
After much consideration, he made the decision to quit his lucrative political job and pursue a seminary education. After seminary he took a placement in Minnesota at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church. It was a different environment, but his goals are still the same- to serve his community and create change for the better. He felt free to act boldly.
“I can dream bigger than the person who is worried about the next election. And I can use this ministry to convince people who care about beloved community to help them inform their politics, as opposed to letting politics inform their faith.”
For seven years he worked at All God’s Children, right up until the pandemic, which threw a major wrench into an upcoming project for the church. After much reflection and some advice from a friend, he decided to take his talents and his voice to a new, bigger setting. He took an interview with Plymouth Congregational Church. It was a long shot- many other people were vying for the same position- but he was accepted!
Now, with new influence and resources, he is challenging Plymouth Congregational Church to recognize their own privilege, have hard conversations, and truly create an environment where people who have been ignored or cast out by other churches feel safe.
It is a great privilege that we congratulate the Reverend Doctor DeWayne Davis on his Lavender Magazine Community Award for his lifelong commitment to the LGBTQ community.