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.