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First openly gay pastor in Pickerington spreads love, inclusion through faith, community

Rev. Douglas G. Grace is now ordained as the pastor at Prince of Peace in Pickerington, a move he hopes inspires more inclusion in the faith community.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It's been a long time coming for Rev. Douglas G. Grace.

After serving for 33 years in ministry, he is now officially ordained to serve as an openly gay man at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Pickerington

Grace said he was always in ministry, but it was his mentor Bishop Kelly that gave him the inspiration to share his sexuality with the community openly.

“She said, 'if you’re going to be a peacemaker, you’ve got to be at peace!'” he said.

For Grace, it’s not about politics for him and his congregation. He wants to help stress the importance of inclusion and that anyone, no matter their identity, race, sexual orientation, or class, is welcome at church.

"It's okay to be who you are, and it's okay to be inclusive, and to be loving and to be missional,” he said.

Grace said his congregation of more than 100 people is expanding and bringing in many people of Indonesian and African descent. He also wants it to be a congregation that's open and available to people who want to grow in their faith and who will be moving to Ohio to work at Intel.

“Where do you think that the explosion of population and explosion of the need to be spiritually grounded is right here, in Pickerington, Ohio,” says Grace.

Grace said he hopes this is a big step forward for his faith community, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. His congregation’s mission is to spiritually wake up from what he calls the “COVID coma,” in the faith community to tackle discrimination and serve those in poverty.

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