To my beloved, The United Methodist Church: I am queer. I exist. I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you continue to colonize my queer brown body and identity – being used and talked about with token representation – I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you pursue a false sense of church unity at my expense as a queer person, I will resist. I will not be erased.

When your love is conditional and you keep talking from both sides of your mouth to ease the harm you inflict on me as a queer person, I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you continue an immoral complicity in the death and affliction of queer persons by marking me in red letters as “incompatible”, I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you look away from the grace-filled waters of Baptism and knowingly forget your vows at my Baptism to oppose oppression in whatever form it takes, I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you allow the Gospel to be co-opted and corrupted in places that have criminalized my queerness, I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you don’t mean what you say: that I am of sacred worth yet separate my identity from how I express my love, I will resist. I will not be erased.

When you preach about Beloved Community, yet offer me crumbs under your table, and make me beg for inclusion, I will resist. I will not be erased.

I acknowledge my privilege in being able to come out, in being clergy, and being male. I always hold dear in my heart my unnamed faithful queer siblings. Realizing my status, I strive not to assimilate in oppressive hierarchical structures of patriarchy, class, and white supremacy. It is the road to perfection in love.

When the going gets tough, remember Church, I will resist. I will not be erased.

Rev. Izzy Alvaran

Israel I. Alvaran is an ordained Elder in the Philippines Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He has served in various ministry settings as pastor, youth minister and faculty at a UMC university and seminary in the Philippines. He is currently under episcopal appointment to serve as an organizer with Reconciling Ministries Network. A long-time activist, Israel worked as Person-in-Mission of the UMC General Board of Global Ministries for the Manila Episcopal Area, focusing on advocacy for low-wage workers. For a number of years, he was a community outreach organizer for UNITE HERE Local 2 (the hotel workers union) and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California. Prior to joining RMN, he served as national organizer for economic justice with the UMC General Board of Church and Society. A political asylee from the Philippines, Israel lives in San Francisco, CA and is immersed in the life of his community. Until recently, he was an officer and board member of San Francisco Pride at Work, an organization committed to LGBTQI rights in the workplace. He is on the Activist Committee of the Jobs with Justice chapter in San Francisco. Israel has a Masters of Divinity degree and a Masters of Theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines. With a dissertation focused on faith-rooted organizing, he received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA in 2010 as a recipient of the UMC Crusade Scholarship. When not in the thick of rallies and picket lines, Israel loves to cook and bake for friends, and spends quality time with his adorable dog Waui Kush.

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