Friday October 15th I preached a sermon at Columbia Theological Seminary for their Pride worship service.
That might not seem like a big deal but here is some background:
– I was the first open lesbian to graduate from Columbia. (1986)
– The church would not ordain me and I left to pursue the ministry I was called to in other ways and other places.
– There is now a significant presence of LGBT+ students on campus.
– They celebrated Pride!?!
I never paused to dream that one day the seminary would celebrate Pride. It never crossed my mind that there would be such a vibrant and open queer community of students and faculty. Or that the community would be supported by the institution. But Godde dreams larger than I do and sees farther than the small span of my prophetic imagination. As an undergrad at Agnes Scott College, my mentor, Dr. Mary Boney Sheats, warned me before I set foot in the doors of Columbia that “You might not get there, but you will make a way for those who come to go farther.” I never truly understood what she was saying to me until I stood that day at a pulpit and looked out over the future.
And they have gone so much farther. Thanks be to Godde! They have pushed forward the work of repairing what is broken. There is still a distance to go but each generation moves us into Godde’s future which is beyond our imagining.
These newly-called-to-the-ministry warriors don’t just look to the battles at hand or the ones in their immediate futures, but they look to the past. The service was one to honor those who had gone before, making this present possible. After the service the LGBT+ community (Imago Dei) presented me with a beautiful handmade stole decorated with a Pride flag. On the back were handwritten messages of acknowledgment and thanks. I could not have dreamed this day.
My cup overflows.
11 thoughts on “My Cup Overflows”
Oh Connie! What a joy! Those who sowed in tears, eh? And how about another verse – Behold, I do a new thing! Do you not perceive it? Yes we do! Oh yes we do! Divine blessings on your ongoing ministry, pioneer! <3
thank you, Penny-Anne! I am still trying to take it all in. singing praises!
Thanksgiving! So happy for you.
Amazing, Connie. What a wonderful recognition!
Praise be to Godde, and all your hard work!?
Dear Connie – You were surely a role model for me, though I was at Candler. This brings tears to my eyes, knowing all the pain of your journey decades ago. Thank you for sharing this celebration with us!
I, too, had a similar opportunity to speak at the Social Ethics class at the former Psychological Studies Institute (now Richmont College) training Christian counselors. In my day (1977), the class text was “The Bond that Breaks” – a theory that LGBTQ relationships will destroy the church. Three decades later, I was part of the P-FLAG Speakers Bureau that spoke to the class – as an out lesbian licensed professional counselor! Times are changing – slowly – but surely bending toward justice. We are standing with you, dear Rev!
thank you, Katie. and thank you for your good work for change!
Wow! Such wonderful need. You
are one courageous woman. I thought that in 1984 and I think it now
Wish I’d been there with you dear one – honoring and celebrating you with love
wish you could have been there, too. love love