This story speaks to the homophobia that was part of church life in many places in 1988. In June of 1988 I moved to my settlement charge, a small rural three point charge where I would spend more than 3 years in ministry. I was 26 years old and single.
Early in the morning of my first Saturday in the manse my doorbell rang. A prominent church member woke me up at about 6 a.m. “to see how I was doing.”
A week later at about the same time he knocked on my door until I answered. This time he offered me use of his family canoe. Every Saturday morning for about 5 more weekends I received my early wake up call. Each time there was a new and novel reason for his visit.
Another congregant was aware of the early morning Saturday visits and told me why I was receiving the wake up calls every weekend. My visitor wanted to see if I was alone. He feared that I “might have company.”
To put it bluntly, with all the talk of the ordination of gay and lesbian church members in the United Church in that year he wanted to know if a gay man was living in the manse. So he woke me early every Saturday morning to see if I was alone. When my (female) fiancée came to an evening service in late August his visits stopped.
(Shared with permission. Photo credit: Wix.)