To support Sally and others, please visit our Indiegogo campaign and donate to the retreat today so that we can bring these amazing people together once again. My family's history is full of fear. At last year's Presbyterian Welcome Retreat for LGBTQ individuals pursuing ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church, I found the space to claim this for the first time.
I heard, “Go!” and my mouth opened, and I began to speak. “My ordination process started over 40 years go...” I heard my 27 year-old self say. “My uncle started seminary in the early 60s. He was not allowed to serve a church because he was gay. He ended up ordained to chaplaincy, but he eventually left the church because he would not live out his vocation and call in a place that could not accept the fullness of who he was. My aunt went to seminary in the mid 1990s, after my uncle’s death with the hope of being ordained. She was not allowed to pursue ordination because she was a lesbian. And now here I am." As I spoke to the 40 retreat participants, I claimed for my own the painful stories of my aunt and uncle. After years of resistance I can say now - Their stories are part of my story.
As I stood in front of my colleagues and my friends I then claimed the emotion: “I’m scared of what the church will do to me. Will my story end up like my uncle’s? Or my aunt’s? Or will it be different?”
I don’t know how my story will end up. What I do know is that I have Presbyterian Welcome and the community of the LGBTQ Inquirers and Candidates Retreat to support me. This group provides me the space and the support to piece together and claim my own story and my family’s history. I have a place - even if only for three days a year - I can fully live out my identity as a lesbian and as a future pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Neither my aunt nor my uncle had this group. Maybe their stories would be different Presbyterian Welcome had been around for them.
Sally is on a journey to become an ordained PC(USA) pastor. Although Sally thinks Texas is the best place on earth, she and her wife are looking to live in a place with marriage equality. When not cooking and baking, she, her wife, and dog love to go on hikes around Austin.
To support Sally and others, please visit our Indiegogo campaign and donate to the retreat today so that we can bring these amazing people together once again.