I learned love and faith were always okay and beautiful
I wasn’t alive in the 1980s when the United Church went through the process of accepting the LGBTQ+ community, but I have felt the results of these events most of my life.
I have almost always felt the hatred for the United Church that certain communities and groups of people had or have. When I was growing up, and even still today, people tend to have a negative reaction to my United Church. I went to a Ukrainian Catholic elementary school and my church and branch of Christianity (the United Church) was considered to be a cult.
I didn’t understand when I was younger but there was great contempt for the United Church because of the Affirming Ministry. The United Church’s philosophy of love and acceptance was not shared by anyone I knew when I was little.
But it has been the love in my United Church which has made my life so much easier. In my church we had people in the LGBTQ community who were out and proud. The compassion in my community showed me to accept others and that we all have human rights no matter what. I would never be where I am today if I had not had this experience.
I am Pan and Ace sexual. My elementary school only said the word “gay” once. It was in a province-required unit about HIV and AIDS. But the word was defined to my Grade 4 class as something sinful and terrible. “Gay people get AIDS and die.” However, since I was in the United Church and already knew you could be gay and not get AIDS or be punished by God: I was unaffected by this lesson from my school teachers.
In fact, as I sat there I realized that I could find both girls and boys attractive. The lesson from my school failed, as I learned love and faith were always okay and beautiful.
I hope to use my Affirming Ministry to help other people like my church has helped me.
(Shared with permission. Photo credit: Wix stock photo.)