Monday, April 28, 2008

How I Outed Myself at Coffee Hour

Yesterday at coffee hour I greeted two friends, a lesbian couple. They actually have a church home where they are very happy, but they came to the church I serve for the first time, as friends offering support. They were with a member of the congregation who is someone I haven't gotten to know very well, who is not active on committees or boards, but who has been attending faithfully. Turns out they are friends.

The four of us sat together for a bit; then I cracked a joke in which Beloved figured. I turned to the member of and said, "Do you know Beloved? She's a friend of mine." Then I finished my story. During the conversation it was also clear that I knew of the status of the couple; their particular tale, etc. A few minutes later I went to chat with some other folks. Later I spoke to one of the couple. She told me that, as soon as I left the table, the member said, "So, is Beloved, you know...?" clearly indicating, my partner. They said, yes. But Shhhhhh! It's a secret. Or something to that effect.

At the end of coffee hour we said goodbye. The woman who is a member hugged me particularly warmly, confirming, as I suspected, that it will be OK. She will be an ally.

Such a complicated situation. I was careless. But the visitors also played a part... and, I certainly wouldn't expect anyone to lie for me when asked a direct question. I now am in the situation in which one member... not a very connected member, but a member nonetheless... knows my status. And, if she is an ally, there is an implication of complicity. So... I have inadvertently allowed someone to become a co-conspirator. Not a comfortable situation.

And yet... there was a kind of quiet exhilaration I felt when all was said and done, as if some part of me were saying, "YAY! And the sooner this is over, the better!" I feel great love, great warmth, both towards and from the congregation. I know that the general consensus is, Cecilia is a good pastor. Will that hold? Only time will tell.

I enlist your prayers for all concerned, especially the member, J.

18 comments:

FranIAm said...

Dearest Cecilia,

It is such an honor and a gift to know you via this blog and more so to support you with friendship, fellowship and prayer.

You know nothing important is easy, but you you what is important.

God bless you my sister and know you are held aloft - along with your Beloved and your congregation, in my prayers always.

ClosetedBaptistLesbian said...

Oh my.
I'll be praying for you and your church.
Take care, and remember - the God who has saved you and redeemed you and brought you this far will not now abandon you.
God is always in control!

Choralgirl said...

Prayers underway, C.

It's just HARD to keep the Mental Editor always vigilant--especially after something as mentally taxing as leading worship, and especially when your (heretofore separate) worlds collide.

And especially if there's any part of you (however tiny) that's feeling rebellious about having to do it in the first place.

Totally get what you're saying about the "inadvertent co-conspirator" situation, and your discomfort with it from several angles.

However, if it does end up being true that this is the situation that gets the conversation started, I think there's some part of you that's prepared, based upon a number of the posts I've read from you.

Wondering if you have a read on what the local version of church hierarchy (bishop or whatever your denominational equivalent would be) would be likely to do?

Grace and courage to you sister. God's in it with you! And you have lots of us rooting for you!

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Prayers for all concerned, Cecilia. As the blessed Julian of Norwich said, "And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

And as my friend Jennifer says "It will all be all right in the end. If it isn't all right, it isn't the end."

Love,
Doxy

Jan said...

I love what Doxy wrote about the end being the end. This sounds like a good thing, even though it was somewhat accidental. The Holy One brings us into community whether we know it or not. Praying for you and J.

KJ said...

With and for you we will pray!

I am the "secret bearer" for a few hidden within church circles. I always look forward to "the end" as the likelihood of a "coconspirator" charge (Or recruiter!) is real. However, I never mind taking a bullet or two; I have grace body armor. :-)

Songbird said...

It's hard to keep the truth under wraps, and I hope the day will be here soon when it isn't needed. Blessings to you and prayers for all, especially J.

3things said...

Cecilia,

This made me smile. I wish you (and J.) well.

The Swandive said...

You and J both are on the prayer list. What a ride, what a journey, what an amazing walk you are taking. Bless each step.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

What a difficult, complicated situation to be in. I'll say a prayer for you, your Beloved, and your church. (Oh, and the ally too.)

PamBG said...

Prayers and blessings for you all.

ymp said...

Prayers, for you and for J and for your Church.
And repetitions of what others have already said more eloquently.

jadedjabber said...

My prayers are with you and J, absolutely. I can't help feel a little exhilarated with you as well. One day we will all be able to be out in the church (can you imagine if everyone came out at once?? Talk about whip lash!)

Julie said...

You truly have a pastor’s heart. My prayers are with you and J. I hope everything eventually comes out in your timing.

John Shuck said...

Got prayers going your way!
Many Blessings!

Jessica said...

Cecilia,
Found your blog awhile back and have been reading, and so very glad to have found it- its really a blessing. I'll be praying for you , your beloved, and your church. Good luck in your journey i think God has a great deal in store for you. You have alot of people supporting you and especially you have God, and with him you can move mountains! Keep strong!

RevDrKate said...

Prayers for you and all in this. Courage my sister, the Lord is with you.

klady said...

Cecelia,

You have my prayers, always. I did not know what else to say here, but today thought of you when I ran across this interview with Bishop Gene Robinson. He spoke about self-censorship, how necessary it may be at times, and the toll it takes. I cannot even begin to imagine what that is like to live that way, but it makes me all the more want to change the world so people like you and he and others need not live with such concerns about speaking openly and freely about your loved ones.

Peace be with you.