Recently, I had the great privilege to minister in a MCC church. The Metropolitan Community Church is a denomination that was founded in part in reaction to the exclusion, abandonment, excommunication and rejection of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians and their families. It has become a sanctuary for all those on the margins, their families, friends and allies regardless of gender, gender performance, sexual orientation, HIV status, race, ethnicity or any other category used for divisive purposes.
In that congregation I found elderly nurses who had served on the front lines of the AIDs war in the '80's who wanted a spiritual home in a place where those for whom they card so deeply were not only welcome but cherished. I found former addicts and sex workers who were welcomed into the congregation before they made life affirming, altering or sustaining changes in their lives. I found retired Roman Catholic priests living out their days in a space that afforded them integrity that they could not find in their home denomination. I found the parents and siblings and children of queer folk who had finally found a congregation where they could join their loved ones in receiving the sacraments. I found retired protestant pastors and their wives who sought and found a sacred space where "love" was not a cliché and hate was nowhere to be found. I found scholars of religion who were not ashamed to cast their lot with an upstart gay church. I found heterosexual and homosexual Christians who were passionately committed to their church, their God and each other. There were also folk who were profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve in any capacity in the house of God. Their faith, joy and sense of wonder were achingly beautiful. And I found suffering souls who had never been in a holy space where people like them made up the overwhelming majority.
I found God in that place and loved her fiercely and was loved fiercely by her in return.