Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Sign of Hope: Queer Presbyterians

When I was going through the ordination process, I had no idea my sexuality would ever be an issue. What a privilege that was.

I was married. I could prove that I'd had sex with my husband at least twice. (Think about it.) I was a straight ally (or, maybe in my heart of hearts, a silently bi ally), who was determined to do everything I could in my ministry to advocate for justice to flow down like water, and righteousness like an overflowing stream where my LGBTQ brothers and sisters were concerned.

Of course, there was the fact of my crushes. In and out of seminary, I kept finding myself attracted to women. I would talk to my lesbian friends about the great un-acted-upon loves I had experienced. I reveled, just a bit, in the tragedy of it all. (I do have just the tiniest bit of the drama queen in me.) I crushed out on the outrageous lesbian girl down the hall from me in my dorm. I longed for a mentor from afar. I was good.

Then, of course, all hell broke loose, and my marriage came crashing down in a spectacular ball of flames, as my husband, the good guy, fell for another woman... possibly a woman with no ambivalence about being with a man, I don't know.

And then my new life began. I fell in love with Beloved. And suddenly my sexuality was a Very Big Deal indeed, where my ministry was concerned. What to do?

You know what I did. I lived it all very quietly. I figured it out... make that present tense, I am figuring it out.

Not everyone's story follows this pattern, of course. There are friends (especially now, blogopals... you know who you are!) who have held the knowledge of their true selves their whole lives, and who have had to figure out how that fits in with a call to ministry. Some churches, praise God, affirm LGBTQ gifts for ministry, period. Thank you, MCC, UCC and Episcopal Church (and, 'piskies/ Anglicans, so sorry about the troubles). [You others, tell me who you are so I can give you a shout out.]

I have lately learned about one way in which an organization of one denomination-- still not open and affirming-- is beginning to reach out to LGBTQ individuals. Presbyterian Welcome is, at this very moment, holding its annual inquirers and candidates retreat, and they are blogging it up. So, friends, do head over to Queer Presbyterians and say "hello," and "God bless." (And catch their cute url.) What a sign of hope.


Kate said...

Thanks for the pointer, Cecilia!

I will note that many (though not all) denominations in the Independent Catholic movement are also open and affirming. Extra-specially so with mine, the Sophia Catholic Communion *shameless plug*

Continuing prayers for you and your Beloved!

June Butler said...

Cecilia, I will pray for you and your partner. I wish I had the power to do more.

The generations coming up will be better, but that's no help to you and yours now.

lauraj said...

Cecelia, thank you so much for this link. My long connection to the PC(USA) -- and its previous incarnations -- is tenuous at best now, but I'm so glad to see this happening. I remember More Light Conferences I've attended and how deeply spirited and also FUN they were. Signs of grace. Praise God.