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'We welcome all people': Independent Catholic church welcomes LGBTQ+, divorced Kansas Citians

Father Taylor Tracy
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 03, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Christ the King Independent Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri's Westside practices Catholicism and opens its doors to LGBTQ+ and divorced Kansas Citians.

Father Taylor Tracy founded the church. While he is an ordained priest, the church is not affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

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“We started with nothing, we met in the park during COVID-19, and I said we didn’t have a candlestick to our name," he said.

Father Taylor is a part of the LGBTQ+ community himself. He met his husband in high school.

"I will tell you, I couldn’t be here without him," he said.

The church has grown to125 parishioners at the church Taylor established in 2021 at the corner of Pennway and Jefferson Streets.

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Signage at Christ the King Independent Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Well, we welcome all people, and that includes people in the LGBTQI+ community, those who have been divorced, those who have been made to feel as though they aren’t welcome for one reason or another," he said.

That includes parishioner Theresa Magana, a lifelong Catholic who was once married by the courts, divorced and married a Baptist.

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Theresa Magana

“I knew from what I had heard that I would still be welcomed here," she said. "At my church that I was attending, I was no longer made to feel like I could receive any blessing, the eucharist, ashes or anything.”

After first attending mass at Christ the King for Ash Wednesday in 2023, Magana said it's her church for life.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, I feel at peace now," she said. "I feel like if I were to pass tomorrow, that I am OK, and I didn’t feel that way, I was worried about that.”

Parishioner Jenri Conley is part of the LGBTQ+ community and a lifelong Catholic. She first found Christ the King online after meeting her fianceé while attending Kansas State University.

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Jenri Conley

Conley and her fianceé would travel from Manhattan to Kansas City to attend mass at Christ the King somewhat regularly.

“I guess I was just desperately searching for someplace I could still practice my faith in a more authentic way,” she said.

One day, Father Taylor will officiate their wedding at Christ the King Independent Catholic Church.

“I think about this a lot, just how blessed I am to have this space, have a space where we can get married and have our wedding ceremony with the faith traditions that I hold so close to my heart," Conley said.