on Saturday, March 14th, an event called "Queerly Grafted" was held at St. Croix [Vineyard] Church in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. the event was part of St. Croix Church's decision to be public, intentional, and explicit about being an affirming congregation - PIE Day - though due to COVID-19 concerns, there was no pie and the larger event was postponed.
Queerly Grafted was "an evening of song and stories in which LGBTQ+ people shared their stories of pain and appreciation and grief in their relationship with the Vineyard movement." St. Croix Church was asked to leave Vineyard Canada due to their "belief and practice in performing same-sex marriages and celebrating full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbours." at the end of the Queerly Grafted event, any queer individuals who wanted to share were invited to speak. here is what I shared:
I grew up in the United Methodist Church (UMC) in the United States. last year, at the UMC General Conference, the denomination adopted the Traditional Plan, the most restrictive and non-affirming option of those presented. one of the speakers for an affirming outcome was J.J. Warren; he spoke of wanting to be a pastor in the UMC because he loved the tradition. J.J. saw the UMC as his home.
the UMC was my home as well – even as I grew older and saw its imperfections. until last year, it felt like I always had a place there if I wanted to visit when I was in the US. when the UMC adopted the Traditional Plan, they made me feel like I was no longer welcome; they made me doubt if I ever truly had been welcome.
we are waves tumbling into shore,
living at different tempos,
arriving in our own time.
when we reach the sand
may we be grateful
of the opportunity that awaits;
may we dance in tide pools,
embrace each shell.
may we not succumb to bitterness
that the salt spray
is our constant companion,
but find in one another
reason to celebrate.
become departure points
until we arrive again,
each in our own time.