Nothing is perfect. When I looked for a church I wanted a church with a commitment to Bible studies. I found one church within a reasonable driving distance. They offered several Bible studies-- both daytime and early evening studies. Jeremiah and Job caught my eye. One difficulty: the church didn't want us. I asked someone in the office if the church was welcoming to all folks.
"Of course, " she said.
" That includes, " I said, " a lesbian couple."
" I'll have the pastor speak to you."
I received a pleasant email from the assistant pastor who explained that a number of congregants would be uncomfortable. He told me that he'd pray for us to find the right church. Of course, he added, we wouldn't ask you to leave--but you wouldn't feel comfortable.
I wrote him back and thanked him for the email and for his prayers. I, too, would pray for the right church and for the doors of his church to truly be open-- for everyone,
We hoped to find a church home where some other gay folks broke bread, shared communion , and talked about their faith walk. But the only churches we found left Jesus at the door.
So we decided to give the church with pretty stained glass windows another chance. We had once attended a small Bible study at that church and several months of services.
The church featured one morning Bible study and one woman who was out as a lesbian.
It was; however, close to home.
What did we find? People not only remembered us, but went out of their way to welcome us.
We joined a morning Bible study and were told to speak up because a number of the eight women were hard of hearing. What, I thought did I have in common with this group? Over the year I learned how one woman had visited all the continents save for Australia. She probably wondered what she had in common with me. I am the intrepid armchair traveler.
We had the privilege of sharing communion with her when she was in a nursing home.
Each one of the women in that group carried an inner spirituality and love of God. Sometimes they were quiet during discussions, but when the questions allowed them to speak about their faith their words were heard.
Last year two of the women passed away.
The Wednesday morning group still meets. The studies vary with church members taking on more of the facilitating.
I joined an imperfect church filled with people who try to live the gospel, who celebrate diversity, who welcome Christ into their church and into their lives. The Holy Spirit finds the pews comfortable.