I was but… a funny thing happened on the way to the chapel.
I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school Kindergarten through high school. Right after high school I joined the Air Force and sort of stopped attending any church. Although I still had faith that there was something greater than myself out there, “church” wasn’t all that important. Sometime during my Air Force days, I also finally recognized that I was a lesbian and once I got over the good ol’ Catholic guilt about it, it was what it was.
The Air Force saw fit to send me to college in 2005 and at Miami University I realized there were two sets of people: Christians and gays. The two didn’t mix and you had to be one or the other. I also knew at this point the Catholic Church didn’t want me anymore and I didn’t know anything about being any other sort of Protestant, so I gave up on “religion” altogether and became, as I like to say, “One Big Hot Mess.” I was partying, drinking, staying up all night and doing just well enough in school to pass my classes. It was fun, but there was also something missing. And no, it was not the cat I adopted in late 2006, although Callie did give me something to focus on other than myself.
Enter Marianne. We “officially” met in May 2007 at the Virginia Women’s Music Festival but lost touch over the summer because of work and school commitments. Thanks to MySpace (remember that site?) we reconnected in September and in October she flew up to see me. That visit was epic. I was living in an apartment that got terrible cell phone reception, I didn’t have cable and I was borrowing internet from my downstairs business neighbor so it gave us a chance to talk…and talk…and talk…about everything from God and religion to the Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge.
I decided it might be high time for me to find a church again and I did and The Bridge was awesome. My first introduction to the pastor was “Hi, my name’s Katie, I’m a lesbian and that’s not changing.” I figured I’d be up front, right? His response was “Yeah, so?” I was super-involved and things were going great and then, a year after I started with The Bridge, the pastor decides to preach an entire hour on sin: gambling, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, you know, the normal stu…wait a minute! I thought we were cool. Apparently not. I was mad at them for a good long while, but never at God. I just figure God’s got some strange ways of calling me back to Himself.
All this time I had also been attending Green Street Church with Marianne (and all her lesbian and non-lesbian friends) on the Sundays I was in Winston. After the whole debacle at The Bridge, I was totally skeptical that Green Street wanted us for more than just our weekly offering. Luckily, we officially became a Reconciling Congregation in October 2009 and Marianne and I took the larger step of joining Green Street, and by default the UMC, in August 2010.
The thing I love so, so much about Green Street is that this community is a church that includes gay people rather than a gay church. Or a black church. Or a something else church. We are a church community that is wonderfully diverse and celebrates each individual while never losing sight of the reason we come to worship.
For the first time in my life, going to church is like coming home.