Being an outsider makes me seek to include others
For me, it started with AIDS in the early 1980s. Although I had been raised in the United Church, I found my spiritual awakening in a more conservative church. But in the 1980s, this group believed strongly that AIDS was sent as a punishment by God against gay men. That did not make any sense to me—as this was not my understanding of who God is.
So, when I went into theology to ask questions about belief, the all-encompassing love of God was not a question to me. I did pulpit supply at the MCC church, attended Affirming rallies, and tried to be an ally.
As a woman of colour, I had faced rejection in churches. People looking at me and walking away from church doors. As a woman and a visible minority, this rejection has shaped who I chose to stand with—from the call to challenge the pastoral charge I was serving, to offer an internship to an out lesbian (and dropping to 1/2 time so it could be afforded), to being part of friends of Affirm, to being part of Affirm United.
Being an outsider makes me seek to include others, to use my privilege and position to stand shoulder to shoulder with others. I have been the 1st woman of colour to be president of our Conference, and I have mentored others to do so.
I love serving an Affirming community of faith, which attempts to keep growing in breadth and depth and diversity of welcoming.
Over the decades I have preached many Affirming ministries Sunday and shared the stories of others. This has been a calling.
Creating small spaces and communities of acceptance makes me feel faithful, joyful, peaceful. And yes, I know we are unevenly affirming, and we are homophobic, transphobic, racist, classist, sexist. But as long as we continue to struggle, to love deeply, hope strongly, open exclusiely we attempt to continue to align ourselves with the energy and love of the holy. We make a difference. We walk in Jesus’ name, in his steps, for our own sakes and the sake of the world.
~ Anonymous, from Saskatchewan
(Shared with permission. Photo credit: Wix stock photo.)