I was not a part of the United Church in 1988. In the early 1980’s I had only just become aware of the issue of diverse sexual orientations in society. I grew up in a closed, “protected” faith community where this would not have been discussed and only was aware of the term “lesbian” in any real life way my last week of high school, when a friend from my church youth group came out to me. I was dumbfounded… prayer for her was my only response.
I went on to attend Bible College and issues of faith and sexuality were never addressed there either. Reconnecting through sports with friends made at that college, I was introduced to wmen whose company I enjoyed, who I respected, and who identified as both lesbian and Christian. At the time, that was mind-blowing.
I began years of struggle between the tenets of faith and way of reading the Bible the way I had been taught growing up and my own personal identity. I looked to the churches, attending various ones, trying to find a home where I could feel my belief in Christ and being myself could go hand in hand.
It was several years later, and after the 1988 decision of the United Church, and after Augustine United Church became the first Affirming United Church congregation that I first visitied there.
Since that time I have found a church where I do feel at home, accepted and valued.
I have benefitted from the great struggle the larger United Church as a whole has gone through.
I would like to thank especially those brave souls who came along as an ally, and have taken on this challenge to the perceptions of people different from themselves and helped the process toward acceptance and understanding. It has not been easy for many but I pray the division will not be ongoing but will make us stronger and that in the future all of our faith journey will be done together, in Christ.
(Shared with permission. Photo: Wix.)