I was around in 1988 but not really present. How did, and how does, this affect me, as a straight white female? In the late 80s this topic was not on my radar. I had left the church for my university… and was only coming back prompted by the need for personal spirituality — and I was not particularly aware of the justice issues in the church.
I had not been exposed to them in the semi-active participation in my high school years in the 1970s in the United Church in Regina (where my last minister would go on to join the Community of Concern). Perhaps that is what priviledge looks like.
As I became more active in the church, raising children and frequently discerning my own place in the church, justice issues became more important. As our children protested against any religious practice, I knew that I (and we) could not be involved in anything less than a fully Affirming congregation. How could I expect them and their peers to feel welcome here if *all* were not *intentionally* welcomed here.
I realized that everyone really did know someone who was gay and therefore this was everyone’s issue. Our Affirming Process was challenging but transformative for the church and for myself, and the struggle for ownership of this status on the part of the whole congregation continues.
If the doors of our church building ever close (due to lack of personal or financial resources) I don’t think it will be due to lack of our effort to do justice and God’s will. I am saddened that more United Churches are not confronting the fear of conflict by opening up the discussions around Affirming Ministry.
We are a resurrection people. We are the body of Christ. We are a post-1988 church.
The *process* of becoming an Affirming Ministry was as important as the end result. I urge others to do this crucial life-giving work.
1988 was 30 years ago. I dream that 30 years from now that all congregationswould be brave enough to have these discussions, of lament, anger, transformation, equality, compassion, moving beyond tolerance and acceptance to celebration of the children of God we all are.
(Shared with permission. Photo credit: Wix stock photo.)