Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Welcome, UMC Folks who are LGBTQI and In and Out of the Closet!

Dear LGBTQI United Methodist Pastors: As an out gay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), serving St. Andrew’s in Portland, Oregon, and as a former faculty member of Duke Divinity School (a United Methodist Church seminary), welcome to Portland! There are many out LGBTQI clergy in the Portland area who are praying for a change in your Book of Discipline that will allow LGBTQI people to be out and ordained, or marry the one you love. Here, kissing on a city street is permitted. Here, unlike North Carolina, citizens can use public restrooms without being asked about their gender or gender identity. Here, you can go see a movie and hold hands with little fear of violence; go to a concert and put your arm around your date; and hug each other after a Portland Timbers or Thorns soccer game goal with no one staring. There are so many bars and restaurants that are LGBTQI friendly that going to a specific gay or lesbian bar is unnecessary to find community. If coming to a welcoming city is a new or unique experience, consider trying this: breathe. Set aside whatever remnant of your LGBTQI closet is holding you back from stepping out, and breathe. Go to one of our many beautiful parks and breathe. Walk. Run. Live. Love. Feel free to sing, dance, shout, and tell your story. Be the person our Creator created, and the one that Jesus loves unconditionally.

One last word as you make your case with allies for marriage equality and recognition of being who you are? Courage!

Pax, Brett

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