Jane: We are changed by people who are out. We have been changed for the past couple of generations by gay and lesbian people who have proudly, persistently, simply lovingly been out and been who they are, with us in our church family, the same way that *my* son is out and with us as who he is in our family. It changed my heart when he came out.
Wilma: I would be one of those people who could tell the journey of having changed, in my opinion, and having watched others change. Even like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, I watched him change over the years. And listening to what he said toward the end of his episcopate, making a lot of people fairly unhappy.
Susan: Those of us who support the actions of our General Convention, who advocate for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people into all orders of ministry, and for equity between same-gender partnerships and heterosexual marriage, do so out of our deep conviction that these actions are our response to the Gospel as we receive it.
Vicky: The very basis of my own ministry and understanding is respecting the dignity of every human being, which comes from the baptismal covenant. And that's what we're called to do. And when we make judgements--I'd like God to be allowed to be God, rather than all of us second-guessing God. "Guided into the kingdom of God"--what does that mean? Does it mean that you're uncomfortable and unhappy if certain people are invited in? I don't believe so. I think that God invites all of us into relationship, and that ultimately the Christian journey and the Christian faith is about relationship.
Ravi: My own journey of faith has taught me that my relationship with God can't be in isolation--it has to be in community. That the "me and God" or "me and Jesus" religion is not what scripture says. So I honor what scripture says in that. And that it's only in community that I can really live out my faith journey.
Jim: By the time I came back to the church, I had been with my partner, Donald for 6 or 7 years, I think. Shortly after that, Donald became sick, and 12 days later he died. It's incredible to me that, in that period shortly before Donald's death, that somehow we were led to find this faith community that we became a part of, just in time for his death. So in some way, God brought us to that place, I think, where we were there and prepared for that. Staff, clergy, and really the people of that parish lifted me up and carried me through those dark days of grief. While he was in the hospital, so sick and dying, and of course afterwards, to support me through all of that.