To me being a part of a reconciling church is something that to me is extremely important. Before we were a reconciling church it was hard to explain my religion to my friends without their first reaction to me being a Christian was them thinking I wasn’t going to accept them for who they are or that I would tell them that they shouldn’t be that way. It’s been a hard journey watching them think they would not be accepted into church because of the person they love or the way they act and dress. In fact, many of them have been turned away from churches and told they were wrong and that they couldn’t practice their faith.I have many friends who are unsure of their faith because their whole life they were taught that they were wrong. Having family and friends who are members of the LGBT community has made me very accepting of it. I’ve grown up around it and it wasn’t unusual to me to know people with two aunts or two dads or to have a friend who was born as Christina but decided as a teen to become Chris. I was taught to accept everyone not for who they love or what gender they want to be. But find out who they are on the inside.
Before we were a reconciling church it was hard. Sometimes being told my opinion was wrong was hard to hear especially from loved ones or people who I looked up to. It was hard to see friends not want to come to church with me in fear they would be judged solely on their looks or partners and not on their faith. With this being the one year of us accepting Everyone for who they are. I will proudly invite my friends to church or talk about my faith with them and let everyone know that god loves them for who they are. Happy one-year anniversary!
I am new among you. Very new. But I am so thankful to each of you. Allow me to explain. I have spent my 20 year journey as a Christian feeling like I was missing something HUGE. I just didn't seem to think "right."
I genuinely loved the heart, motivation, and zealousness of my fellowship however the methods and ideologies were so very precise, subscribed, and enforced that one became quite overshadowed with shame and hopelessness or learned to feign perfection.
I was that one.
I felt I had to pretend to be something that I was not in order to have belonging. I felt condemned for my every struggle. I felt I didn't have permission to feel the comfort of a holy God because of how it may offend those who taught me I was unworthy of it.
Worse yet, I had accepted the fate that I just may be too worldly for the church and too churchy for the world and therefore never have an opportunity for community. I was in a scary, lonely place. Feeling, perhaps there is no such thing as a people who can be in unity without uniformity....
Then I saw that PRIDE flag on your sign. It made me think... I checked out the UMC website. I was like someone was reading my very heart. It seemed the journey was just as valuable as the arrival to this UMC crowd. So I came to check it out. I haven't missed a weekend since.
Among us here I'm sure there are those who may not have my story and who may feel differently than me on many points... But who choose to celebrate how we are all alike. That sounds like Jesus sitting with publicans, prostitutes, and tax collectors to me. That is the very God I've always wanted to serve. I fit here. I fit where authenticity trumps presentation.
And I am free to believe that God is not mad at me. He is madly in love with me. So I say I am thankful for you, indeed gushing with gratitude, because whatever motivated you all to change a website and a church sign in honor of being a reconciling church-- did just that for me. Goal accomplished. Thank you for adjusting your banner so I could identify myself in it and I feel I have permission here to be reconciled to His holiness. I have never felt such sincere liberty nor expectationless belonging. Thank you.
I come from a place of definition… having the answer for everything and it was God’s answer…
Problem is I didn’t have all the answers and I didn’t know what God's answers were to everything.
I tried to force the answer from the Bible, this hurt me and others… I was taught to not question because that is weak faith and we want to have faith that moves a mountain…
I am in a place of knowing I don’t know it all…
This is scary and exciting all at once!
I have a transgender Son born Emmie now Jaime.
We have been talking about this and seeing a counselor for a long time now.
I had preferences, dreams, and desires for my child.
I don’t have all the answers for this… I’m learning that it’s ok to not have them all!
But this one answer I do know is love… I love my kid. What I want for my son is to live free and love well.
I’m thankful to be in a place that welcomes all. Myself and my family. I am trying move to a place of love and peace.
Hi, I’m Jaime. First, I’d like to say I grew up in the church. My first memories were hearing Grandpa’s sermons and dad’s sermons and being a part of the children’s groups. I was always loved and care about and told how excited people were for my future. When I started growing up, forming my own opinions, I realized I was gay. Then eventually I realized I was transgender. Suddenly, I could feel all the support from the church dimninish. When I walked into rooms at school, I could feel people judging me. I turned to my religious friends for help, but none of them accepted my “lifestyle” and “choice.” I started getting really distant from God, because of school and my social life. When I fully came out about being trans, I receved a lot of hate on social media, and I still do. A lot of it was from Christians saying God hates me. I no longer enjoyed going to church, or enjoyed the constant judgment I felt for many things. And I was angry at God. Why did he put something in his word that people used against me? Then I started going to this church. People accepted me, especially the older folks, which meant a lot. I hope without the distractions of worrying if I’ll be accepted here, and by people in general, I can focus on finding God again.
Like many of you I came from a dysfunctional home – but I had a Grandmother who loved God and made sure I was at church.
1. First childhood recollection is 2 years old in the church’s nursery – where I felt loved – accepted and safe.
2. Fast forward to 19 years ago. I met Sabrina, we became best friends and then partners in life.
3. No longer was the church we were attending Safe – Loving or Accepting.
4. So we found that for many churches no longer was Loving God and Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior enough.
5. So to find MUMC where I know loving God – accepting Jesus Christ and being a lesbian is O.K.
6. I never take for granted the freedom to worship and be accepted in a safe place.
7. So for MUMC to become a reconciling church, takes me back to being that 2 year in the nursery where I knew I was loved – accepted and safe. Thank You.
The only recollection of church for me as a child was a place where my friends went on Sundays. My parents never took my brother or I because my mother is agnostic and my father thought it was my mother’s job to take us. So I was judged by friends for not attending. Although I went with friends to their different churches on occasion, I didn’t feel any connection to any of them. Churches I attended were all about rules and not love and acceptance. Church did not seem like an inviting place for me to go….so I didn’t. The year I turned 29 I felt that God was calling me but the deal was it was going to be on my terms if God wanted me to be a believer. I would be open to going to church, but I am not into religious hypocrites. 19 years ago I met Barbara at a woman’s Bible study and we became instant friends and later partners in life. God was and has always been the center of our lives as friends and as life partners.
Moving from California and trying to find an accepting church in our area was a challenge. We tried a few churches but it wasn’t what we were looking for. Our friends Cheryl and Lorraine told about MUMC. I emailed Pastor Gloria and asked her if the church was accepting and she said come and see for yourself. Unbeknownst us we show up on the very first day the church had a guest pastor speak on the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. I looked at Barbara and said “God certainly has a sense of humor having us showing up today of all days”. It was an interesting morning to say the least especially when a member leaned over me in the green room and said “we all know marriage is between a man and a woman right?” Other than this one comment we didn’t encounter any other negativity. The church even accepted Matthew who we co-parent and has Asperger Syndrome. After the vote last spring when MUMC became a reconciling church it was then we asked Gloria if she would hold a membership class before she left. We felt blessed to have Ardyce be our sponsor the day we joined. Today we feel as though all of you are our extended family and we love our church. Thank you for having open hearts, open doors and open minds.