Monday, June 2, 2008
Celebrating My Gay-Friendly Church
As the date rolled around for this year's Blogging for LGBT Families, I sort of went blank at first about what to write! Since I am part of a lesbian family, and I frequently write about it, I wasn't sure how to make this particular blogging day special.
But then I decided to write about my church.
I found this church about 2 1/2 years ago, a few months after I had come out to myself (yes, I am quite the late bloomer!). At the time, I had been attending a charismatic church. For two reasons. I loved the worship, and was quite smitten with my friend, who attended regularly. She was unaware of this second motivation for my attendance.
Anyway, I soon realized that I would not be able to continue going to this church and decided to look for one that would be gay-friendly.
When I did, I found a list of churches and decided that the church I am now a member of would be the first I'd visit.
I have been attending ever since!
My church is about 50% gay and we are everywhere there. Directing the choir, singing in the choir, making the announcements, greeting at the door, offering communion, etc. And these may not seem like such a big deal, unless you are used to churches where that would not be the case.
My church has many married or partnered LGBT couples and several LGBT families, mine among them.
When my partner and I got married in Toronto, I did not change my name legally. But I have been using her name and my church made me a new nametag, changed my name on the address for the monthly church newsletter and congratulated me on my marriage!
Several times a year, the church holds new membership classes and after each class, the new members are introduced to the church. I amuse and delight myself each time by picking out the LGBT people and usually, they make up about half the class.
I remember the first time I saw an infant baptism where both the parents were daddies! In fact, I think it was right after that that I decided to complete the next new member class myself.
Is my church perfect? Oh no!
You might be surprised when I tell you that it is a United Methodist church. At the recent general conference, they just voted again not to ordain "practicing homosexuals" and even voted to allow pastors the freedom to decide whether or not to grant membership to LGBT people in their individual churches. Though my pastor has baptised children of LGBT parents, he could never marry them, even in a state where marriage was legal.
So are there still changes I'd like to see, even in my beloved church? Absolutely!
But I'll be there until they happen. It's the best church I've ever belonged to and some of my very best friends are there!