It’s been approximately three years to the day since my husband Alex and I found ourselves entering the doors of this very sanctuary, spiritually lost. This was a time when we had a new president, and if we’re being honest, we were all very visibly scared. Racism and homophobia were blatantly accepted, hate overpowered love, and across the country, it seemed like we were all scared to leave our homes, a sentiment that hasn’t changed in the past three years.
This hit true especially to me. As someone who was an immigrant to this country, I led myself to believe that the people around me, the very people I interacted with on a daily basis, didn’t care for who I was. I felt disposable.
That’s when Alex and I knew we needed to find some sort of community. Now, of course, we were skeptical about the possibility of finding this community in a church. We were both raised Catholic, so we were raised to feel guilt. Add that with growing up in a Mexican household and let me tell you, that guilt felt doubled.
Being gay wasn’t accepted, and I was reminded by my Sunday school teacher every Sunday that it was considered a sin. My coming out caused my relationship with God to be tested for many years until it eventually faded away. I had lost trust that a church can truly be welcoming to someone like me. But with Alex now by my side, we both felt ready to find a church that was welcoming of us.
I remember being at work one morning. Alex sent me a text with a link to a church website. I browsed the site and immediately came across Pastor Chris’ welcome message. It was very heartfelt. I felt this was a place I could attend. I felt welcomed. Not as a sinner, but as a human.
We made a plan to visit our first Sunday and immediately found ourselves being welcomed and greeted by a number of church members. You all genuinely seemed happy to see us and invited us to worship together. It was honestly a surreal experience to be able to feel this in a church. I felt acknowledged, but most importantly, I felt accepted.
So, while it’s obvious to say that the hate out there still exists, knowing I’m not alone in the fight against it truly means the world. And now I ask you to consider giving what you can for this church. The work this church has done for me can only be sustained by your contribution. Alex and I give on a monthly basis and also volunteer to serve on occasion; these are some of the many ways you can be encouraged to serve as well, and today I invite you to join me.