I was recently married. For most people that may not seem earth-shattering, but my partner and me were one of the 110 couples married at Casa Loma on June 26 during the World Pride ceremony. Yes, my spouse and I are same-gender: women.
It was an amazing experience and our private ceremony captured the love and devotion we have for each other. We have been together 14 years, so we are not love’s young dream! I have been a Beacher for all our time together and my partner was raised in the Beach.
It took a long time for me to acknowledge who I was as a lesbian child of God. I was 43 when I accepted who I was and it has taken 16 years to grow into myself as a person and as a clergyperson within the United Church of Canada. I am thankful that my denomination, The United Church of Canada, has been working for justice and equality for marriage of same gender couples from the beginning.
I am also proud of the city and province where I live and work. Toronto provided a wonderful forum for World Pride. Acting Mayor Norm Kelly and Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam were at the forefront in supporting the wedding event and are exceptional ambassadors for our city government. Toronto and Ontario Proud!
The congregation where I minister, Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, is one of the most open and accepting congregations I have experienced in 28 years of ministry. Ten years ago they looked beyond their walls to see the need of the world and found it on their doorstep. Their energy and enthusiasm to show God’s love resulted in a food bank. Churches by the Bluffs Food Bank is housed in our building. It was founded by five churches: Birchcliff Bluffs United, St. Nicholas Anglican, Scarborough Baptist, Fallingbrook Heights Baptist and Fallingbrook Presbyterian. It is supported by the community and other faith groups through donations and volunteers. This outreach project is one of many we are involved in, along with faith growth and development.
Many people believe that one bad church experience must be the norm and so they write off every church and that is a tragedy. Warmth and openness for those who are seekers, doubters, dreamers and believers is waiting. We offer a worship experience that is a buffet of spiritual nurture and inclusive friendship. We recognize everyone as children of God, desiring for them to risk being happy and blessed and able to participate in all of life, faith and in our city community. So come in and sit down. You are a part of God’s household and community.