What I remember about 1988 is actually 1989, because that’s when I attended Alberta and North West Conference as the delegate from my church. I was 20 years old.
There were many discussions in small and large groups about what “The Decision” meant for churches in Alberta. Some churches or rather people from some churches were very determined that nothing would change. Other people were equally determined that everyone and every church must agree and change.
I was disturbed by the anger and intolerance I saw on both sides. I was actually most disconcerted by an ordinand who spoke on the floor of Conference, almost screaming in her anger that some people were resistant to the decision of 1988. If the reason for ordaining gays and lesbians was to be more loving and inclusive in the model of Jesus, why was she so angry?
I’m now embarrassed to say that I returned to my little church in Inton and told them, “Don’t worry, we don’t have to accept a homosexual minister if we don’t want to.” At that time my home church would never have accepted it, and I didn’t challenge them.
I’m embarassed and yet I think that approach kept a lot of people in the church and as time went on they became far more accepting.
As for me, it is an ongoing journey. I love the inclusivity of our church, but am grateful to LGBTQ people who have opened my eyes to where we still need to grow. This workshop has shown me that we are further from the Promised Land than I thought, but it has also given some resources for the journey.
In my sermon I talked about being an inclusive church as our “Promised Land,” and how sometimes it feels like we are there and sometimes we realize we’re still on the journey.
Keltie van Binsbergen
[Shared with permission.]