I am writing you today as one of your own. I am a pastor who is doing my best to faithfully serve the church and this conference and to live out the calling that God has placed on my life. It is our church that raised me in the faith from my birth to my baptism to my confirmation to the day I felt my heart warmed for the first time and I knew God in my life.
I am writing you today because I love you, church, and I love in particular this the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference.
I can remember the first time I attended annual conference, feeling like I had finally found my home, a place where I belonged, a place where I could bring all of me, a place where the spirit moved me to answer my call to ministry. Sadly, I have begun to question whether I can continue to serve among you because, as a gay person.
I am wondering whether the welcome I originally felt was intended for me.
I am wondering because we seem to have mostly ignored that an injustice occurred right here on the floor of conference. We have denied a candidate approved by the BOOM her rightful place as a clergy member of this conference. We denied her because she happens to be married to another woman. In doing this, we have failed to recognize one of the most gifted persons for ministry I have ever met and we are lesser for it.
To be clear, however, I am not writing just about this one candidate.
I am writing as one of you who is hurting because we did this terrible thing and then moved right along like nothing even happened. We have continued on with our business as if what we have done is ok. It is not. We have sinned and we need to seek forgiveness for the harm we have done, for the message we are sending to our LGBTQ siblings who are watching and who are gathered right in this room.
The message that says you are a not really welcome here unless you are seated and quiet about who you are and who you love.
We can do better. We must do better.
Your gay sibling in Christ