Stepping Out In Faith

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Tamara reflects on her first LGBTQ Future Pastors Retreat. To support Tamara and others, please visit our Indiegogo campaign and donate to the retreat today so that we can bring these amazing people together once again.

I confess that I did not know very much about Presbyterian Welcome before my pastor thrust an application in my hand and told me I needed to go to this retreat.  Okay, I didn’t know anything and had never heard of them.  And the application deadline happened to be that night.  So I quickly did some investigation and made a frantic phone call to attain information.  After submitting my application and having conversations with staff, I had a flight booked and was on my way.  Um, to what?  Well, I really wasn’t sure.  All I knew was that I was going to a retreat that would be assisting me in discerning my call and I would be surrounded by a bunch of LGBTQ people of faith.  That alone was mind boggling.

So I land in Atlanta and am greeted by the most wonderful, kind, gentle, gorgeous man who embraces me as if we have been friends forever.  All my fear, trepidation, worry, and insecurity melted (don’t worry – it came back) and in that moment I was deeply moved and reminded that I am a beloved child of God.  Over the next 4 days, those moments happened again and again.  The Spirit constantly was at work in my heart and mind, and called to me over and over – reminding me that I was following God as God’s beloved child.

It isn’t often, at least for me living in the northeast, that I have the opportunity to gather with other seminarians and share my faith, fears, struggles, joys, and laughter.  It is basically unheard of in my area to be able to do that with others in the LGBTQ family.  I cannot adequately explain what being a part of this special group of people means to me, my faith, and my ministry.

I have boldly stepped out in faith since the retreat and spoken truth in love to my presbytery, my CPM, and my church.  I was able to do so as I knew that there were 40 people who had my back, who pray for me, laugh with me, and cry with me.  I knew that God was at work in their lives in amazing ways and I have learned to trust their words. When they encourage me to step out, I can hear that and respond.  The wonderful people who make up the family I know as Presbyterian Welcome are children of God who consistently respond to God’s call in bold, trusting, and faithful ways.  And they make me laugh.  A lot.  When in the midst of seminary, CPMs, life, and discernment, I can always be guaranteed that if I reach out, they will be there to support me.  Presbyterian Welcome is a deep blessing in my life for which I am immensely grateful.

To support Tamara and others, please visit our Indiegogo campaign and donate to the retreat today so that we can bring these amazing people together once again.