To the 16 year-old in the church youth group who knows she is gay but hasn’t had the courage to come out to anyone yet at church, I see you.

To the church organist who has been at this church over a decade and is gay but has never come out, but we all know, I see you.

To the young people on the church trip who have felt safe to be themselves for the first time, I see you.

To the mom sitting in the church pew, wondering about her gay child who hasn’t come out to the family yet, and is yearning for openness and honesty, I see you.

To the youth bringing his boyfriend to church for the first time on Christmas Eve and wondering what people will think, I see you.

To the man who was raised in the United Methodist Church, who has visited other churches, but feels most at  home in the United Methodist Church, but knows his pastor doesn’t approve of his sexual orientation or his partner, I see you.

To the gay couple who would love to be married by their pastor in their home church but knows it would put the pastor at risk for a church trial, so they get married in an unfamiliar church building of another denomination, by a pastor they only met 3 months ago, I see you.

To the dad who isn’t sure how to tell his friends in Sunday School that his son just came out and is taking another boy to the school prom this year, I see you.

To the church leader who has finally had enough of hearing about the church having open doors, open minds, and open hearts but the church never stops using the word “incompatible”, I see you.

To the church member who is queer and questions why the topic of General Conference has moved to “unity” and saving the institution rather than the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons, I see you.

To the person in bible study who hears others say “we love the sinner but not the sin,” I see you.

To the lay leader who lives in a flyover state and longs for the day she can marry her partner in her local United Methodist Church like she hears happens on the west coast, I see you.

To the young person in the West Congo Annual Conference who wonders about the feelings he has but hears his church leaders condemn those feelings, I see you.

To the gay 20-something in a large metropolitan church in Texas who hears talk of his church being a part of the “WCA” and wonders how long he can stay since he is gay and planning to marry his boyfriend next year, I see you.

To the college student who was baptized and confirmed in The United Methodist Church and who felt called into ordained ministry while at church camp, but knows the church won’t ordain “self avowed practicing homosexuals”, I see you.

To the volunteer with Reconciling Ministries Network, who is tired and weary, and wonders if the fight is really worth it anymore, I see you.

To the queer clergy in New York, who have become fed up, I see you.

To the pastor living in the closet, I see you.

To the parents of a transgender child, whose Sunday School teacher refused to use the child’s name and pronouns, I see you.

To the wonderful woman who hasn’t stepped foot in a UMC in over twenty years, I see you.

To the clergy person in the United Church of Christ, living openly with their spouse of the same gender, who used to be a pastor in the United Methodist Church, I see you.

To the single pastor who has reluctantly talked about this topic only when absolutely necessary, for fear his church members will accuse him of being gay, I see you.

To the guy just turning 40, who has been turned off to church and Christianity for a very long time, whose boyfriend in high school died by suicide due to bullying, I see you.

To the person who was very active in church growing up, but stayed away as a young adult, who is just venturing back to a local church that is Reconciling, I see you.

To the older gentleman at church, who turned in his clergy credentials a long time ago and wonders how things could have been different, I see you.

To the young adults at church camp who are affirmed by their church leaders, and don’t understand how scary it was to be out 30 years ago, I see you.

To the gay couple marching in their first pride parade, alongside their United Methodist friends who have marched in the parade for 20 years, I see you.

To the lesbian in United Methodist Women who seeks to follow Jesus and spread God’s love to all she meets, I see you.

To all those wondering what The United Methodist Church will look like on Sunday, March 3 and if there will be a place for them, I see you.

To the volunteers traveling to General Conference to witness and advocate for the full inclusion and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, I see you.

To the out queer delegates elected to General Conference, I see you.

To the closeted LGBTQ+ delegates at General Conference, I see you.

To the General Conference delegates, I see you.

To the bishops sitting up front and presiding, I see you.

To Bishop Karen Oliveto, I see  you.

To my LGBTQ+ family, I see you.

I see you.

– from a lifelong United Methodist and queer pastor

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