I didn’t grow up in the United Methodist Church.
I made my way through young adulthood and into motherhood. While we were far from home we happened into a United Methodist Church and there I found theological and heart home.
While attending seminary I was appointed to my first church. I have been blessed (mostly!) to serve in United Methodist churches for twenty three years.
But all along I have felt the grinding wrongness of the United Methodist stance on full inclusion.
I organized regional conferences in Duluth and Minneapolis. I twice spoke at the state capital during rallies organized by OutFront Minnesota. I worked with colleagues in the Minnesota Annual Conference to speak out against the (anti) Marriage Amendment in MN and have worked for a day when all people are beheld as beloveds in all aspects of their beings.
I name the above because it helps me assuage my sense of complicity in the existence of an oppressive structure through which I receive benefit.
I cannot do that much longer, that assuaging.
The global church met in 2019 and came away a declared unsafe place for GLBTQI individuals, clergy, and allies.
No place is safe when core identity is perceived as suspect.
So what next?
I am a woman of 61 years. I find myself exhausted by the grief of these days.
And yet, there is new life aborning. Power is rising up from the too-long silenced and this power I seek to support. A conference held here in Minneapolis called Our Movement Forward will center discussion of the future of the UM church in the community of People of Color, Queer and Transgender leaders. I will go to this gathering as an ally. I will go to this gathering to learn and to listen.
I serve a courageous church. Christ UMC in Rochester is leaning into the questions and work of this time. We own the grief and the opportunity of these days. Together, we seek to offer welcome and hope in the way of Jesus.
Yesterday I was in the hospital room of a young mother. We were gathered to celebrate her baptism. Her young son held her as she received the sign of the cross on her forehead.
The song we shared before her baptism is one she loves: We are a Gentle, Angry People, by Holly Near.
And so we are. Gay and straight together, singing (and organizing and witnessing) for our lives.