I recently attended The Reformation Project Conference and the theme this year was Reconcile and Reform. The goal of The Reformation Project is advancing LGBTQ inclusion in the Church.

On the first evening there was a meet and greet for those who were attending the conference for the first time to make friends and meet others. As I met people, I quickly realized most of the attendees were LGBTQ Christians, a few parents, and a few allies. The most popular question of the evening was, “What brought you here?” As I answered the question, I couldn’t help but talk about the memoir I am currently writing. I responded by saying, “I grew up going to church and my dad came out in the late 80s. My dad and I believed it was a sin to be gay. My book is about the process of me changing my mind.”

Immediately, I was met with, “Wow! That must have been really hard for your dad to come out then.” Or “That must have been really hard for you as a kid.” I was overwhelmed by people’s kind responses and the anguish on their faces because many of them have also experienced difficulties in their own coming out journeys. All of them asked when my book would be finished and how they could follow me on social media to get a copy of it.

Our Stories Matter

I was so surprised and then I realized people need my story to be out in the world. Our stories matter. We need each other’s stories.

But this isn’t what took my breath away. What took my breath away happened at the very end of the conference during communion.

I had only two months prior gone to a church with two of my gay friends. Their church isn’t fully affirming but is working in that direction. I was so sad for them as I sat listening to the sermon about loving people. I decided that day I didn’t want to participate in communion again as a sign of solidarity until I could take it freely with my friends in the LGBTQ+ community where they would be fully accepted.

LGBTQ inclusion in the church

At the conference everyone stood up to get in line. I saw two people on the other side of the room and felt drawn to receive communion from them. As I approached, I noticed one of them had tears streaming down their face the entire time they were offering the wine. They were speaking but I wasn’t close enough to hear what they were saying until it was my turn. “I never thought this would happen. A transgender person serving communion. I never thought this would happen.” Once I heard this, I had tears streaming down my face as well. When they were done serving, I went back to them, and we embraced. This was true communion.

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