Saturday evening’s vespers was a very spiritual experience for me. As part of worship, we gathered in clusters of four and shared our stories of what keeps us going on our journey. I was joined by 3 people with amazing stories.
Two were former Lutheran Church Missouri Synod members who experienced alienation in their church. One was asked to leave congregations twice when they found out he was gay. He alienated himself from the church for many years before finding himself a home in an ELCA congregation. He has since devoted his life to helping others. He retired early and spends his days volunteering and helping those less fortunate.
My other Missouri Synod worship partner has been on a journey of discovering what his faith means to him in recent years. We talked a lot after worship where I found out that he was a pastor in the LCMS. His journey is woven around being true to himself, his partner and his faith while refusing to go back into the closet. It is sad that GLBT people are asked to leave churches in the LCMS and other denominations. At least even the most conservative in the ELCA know that this is not a Christian or just thing to do.
After hearing these stories, I felt my story was trivial in comparison to the trials these two men were put through. My story was that repurposing my commitment to the ELCA after the last churchwide assembly. I think that I have been on a journey that has been uplifted by people I have met on my way who embody what the ELCA means to me. In recent years I questioned if continuing down this path was healthy and wise for Brett and I. The safety and caring of others carry me along the way and nourish me.