In 1988 I was living in San Francisco and working. Having come out as a gay man in 1984, I was then beginning a long period of discernment about a call to ministry in my home tradition, the United Church of Christ. I already knew that my denomination allowed for openly gay and lesbian people to be ordained—although in the 1980s that was still something somewhat new and edgy.
In 1988 I was discerning God’s call. Thankfully in my life and faith, I had never experienced religion as condemning. Sin was explained to me as “a separation from God” and not defined in terms of moral behaviour. But, I was still in need of healing—of coming to understand on my own that God’s love—Christ’s love—was real, and really meant for me.
I would not fully accept that reality until 1992. But, I do have a memory in 1988 of hearing in the news that the United Church of Canada had approved the ordination of all members, including gays and lesbians. I remember being inspired, to know that other Christians were prepared to affirm my call to serve God’s church.
Little did I know then, but I would end up being ordained by the United Church of Canada in 2003! It has been a very affirming journey ever since, thanks be to God.
~ Read Sherman, Montreal
[Shared with permission. Photo credit: Wix stock photo.]