At first I was very proud of my church. I was amazed at how ‘cool’ we were. Then I went to worship in my local congregation and the minister preached hatred from the pulpit. I was in my late teens, struggling to remain in the church and find relevance for my own life. His words did not help and in fact, I refused to be involved for a number of years.
I felt disappointed by the individual responses of ministry folks and lay people, and when congregations and ministers were allowed to choose to discriminate because of their own “consciences.”
I did eventually return to the United Church… was ordained 17 years ago (as of 2018) and have worked hard to be the presence of love and to celebrate diversity in a way that my minister in 1988 never did. I have been involved in the Affirming process of 3 ministries: an education centre, a congregation and a Conference. I was a member of the National Council of Church’s Gender Justice Committee document Moving Toward Full Inclusion (click to open PDF). I have worked to continue to stretch my own understanding; to speak out in worship and preaching and daily life; and to boldly stand up — as best as I can— for LOVE.
I do hope the United Church can make better choices as a whole in supporting the great rainbow of diversity and beauty that Creator has given.
Signed, Shelly Manley-Tannis
(Shared with permission. Photo: Wix.)