God loves gay and lesbian people
I have conducted many funerals in my tenure as a Pastor at St. Olaf. Sometimes there are unresolved issues. At one funeral, a woman came up to the podium to share some memories about her mother. She did not come up alone, but was accompanied by another woman. Everyone knew right away that the other woman was her lesbian partner. Many of us wondered, “What is she going to say? Will she have good memories to share or bitter ones? Was she accepted by her mother or rejected?” I was relieved when she launched into some humorous memories of her mother. Her mother obviously accepted her as a lesbian. Then she recounted how her mother had also accepted her partner, who had not been so fortunate with her own mother. After the funeral, I ran into this woman as she was leaving the church. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in one of these,” she volunteered. “Do you mean a church,” I asked. “Yes,” she said. “We’re not welcome here.” “But, you are welcome here,” I said. “Just as God created you.” I added this last sentence to let her know that the welcome wasn’t contingent upon her changing her orientation. “Let me show you our newsletter,” I said. I showed her where it says “We welcome all people, including gay and lesbian people.” “We make this special mention because we are a “Reconciling in Christ” church. A Reconciling in Christ church makes a special welcome to gay and lesbian people to help overcome the rejection they have previously experienced in churches. And I want you to know something. Your mother was very much in support of this policy.” She looked stunned. “That figures,” she said. “I just didn’t realize what it meant.” I hope she and her partner find a Reconciling in Christ church where they live so they can have the benefits of a faith community as other Christians do.