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.