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From Arlene*

I would like to share a story that happened in 2010. A gay man and his husband were settled at a rural pastoral charge, and they were run out of town after a year and a half. The previous minister (a white, straight woman) was there for 15 years before leaving to do ministry elsewhere.

The church photocopier was in the basement of the manse, and the secretary was used to entering the manse without notice to do photocopies. The previous minister (of 15 years) had been fine with this, but the new minister was uncomfortable with this, and became defensive. As a result, the photocopier had to be moved into the church basement, and the church office had to be refurnished, so it was a big deal.

Meanwhile, the minister's partner got a job in the local (straight bar). As seems to happen, talk started in the town against the gay husband. Perhaps the two men (the minister and his husband) were not familiar with a small town environment where everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows everybody's business. The men were city-people and had an expectation of privacy.

Who was it that were protesting and making the gay men feel uncomfortable? It was the farmers and ranchers, member of the church (well, everybody is a member of the church)… not that these guys were attending all the time. They probably only came to the church for funerals. I am ashamed that this had happened at my church.

* Not her real name. Names and identifying details have been changed. Shared with permission of Arlene*.

black and white photo of bridge in rural setting

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