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.
To go back would have killed me. To turn aside would have derailed me.
- David Hayward, "Sophia and Being Steadfast"
eleven years ago, I embarked on a journey.
I spent the first four years in construction;
deconstructing walls, building bridges in their place.
tearing up planks mouldy with indoctrination,
installing new boards of humility and authenticity,
and new windows and doors, to aid freedom.
"if you could choose to have any superpower, what would it be?"
I don't remember every answer I've given to that question,
but I do know not all superpowers are fun
and there's always a chance
you won't be free to choose
which one you get.
I know, because I didn't get to choose my superpower.