I came to the United Church in the Fall of 1988, that's the fall I moved to my town*. When I was a child I attended UCC Sunday School but was raised in the Baptist Church. I missed out on much of the debate over the issues of that time. [Editor’s note: the issues commonly refer to the issue of gay and lesbian ordination]. Our minister came back from Conference and had a feeling that our congregation would be troubled. She handled the whole issue very delicately, I do remember that much. Personally, I was concerned and a little confused because of the beliefs I was raised with. I chose to ignore the whole thing and enjoyed life in my local church. I'd deal with it when I needed to.
In my work life, I had the opportunity to issue marriage licenses. After same sex marriage was legalized, I did the first one in our office. Several of my co-workers flatly refused to issue the license. Our boss came to me and asked if I would do it, she and I shared the United Church. I did the marriage license and it was a positive experience. The ladies were a wonderful loving couple, toward each other and me. I treated them with respect, and grace and they were gracious toward me. Later that day, I did a marriage license for a heterosexual couple who did not respect each other and were rude to me. It was not a positive experience. I relate this story, because I learned a lot that day. We are not to judge, rules must be adaptable, and who has the right to deprive anyone of love. I slept well that night.
I don't know how much help I would be in sharing this with you because I missed out on much of the debate, but I know we have lost members, who like me were raised in fundamentalism. I have been told that the United Church is nothing more than a social group because we have become too liberal and lost the basis of faith. I struggle to reconcile these conflicting views and try to remember we are all God's children. Our Church is on a journey, not unlike each of us, evolving and growing… maturing.
* Identifying details have been changed.