She is a tall, athletic young black woman: articulate, intelligent, Christian, and gay. She finally sat her mother down just a few years ago and told her she is a lesbian. Her mother's response? To tell her daughter that she is an abomination that she would rather see dead than gay. (My god. What mother could wish that upon her child?) This young woman has found a home in her church, where she is welcomed as a child of God.
They are a couple in their late fifties. They're here to find support for their son, a young adult who was born their daughter. They are active in their church to find a place for him, as God has provided a place at the table for him. They are open and determined that their son will be made welcome.
He is a theologian who believed homosexuality was sinful until he examined the contemporary studies that concluded otherwise. And he changed his mind. He is spending his retirement writing books on the subject and traveling the country to share his newfound knowledge. He has been met with cheers and jeers, and he continues on.
These and hundreds more were the faces of hope that attended the Covenant Network of Presbyterian Churches this week in Minneapolis. Many were pastors who were here to find fellowship with like-minded religious leaders. Many were laypeople, here to be recharged with hope before going out into the world again to fight the Good Fight. And many like me were here to learn, make new friends, and find new resources to take home to their churches.
I am the face of hope. I join thousands taking action to make a change, to guide millions in understanding the effect of legislation and doctrine that segregates and excludes. It is time to intentionally, openly include all and share the communion of Spirit.