a family by any other name: EXPLORING QUEER RELATIONSHIPS
Saturday April 26th 2:00 PM
Lutheran Church of the Cross
10620 Elbow Dr. S.W. Calgary
I think, in fact I know, from several comments I’ve received, that the venue for this book launch is a bit of a puzzle to many who’ve seen the promotion or received invitations. Why hold this celebration at a mainstream Protestant church when so many Lutheran congregations are still rejecting, or conflicted over the Human Sexuality Resolutions passed by the National Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in 2011?
Why on earth include a statement of welcome on the invitation that says: Come as you are, with an open mind and heart. God will stretch and renew us, for we already know storytelling transforms us.
Has the shunning and the pain inflicted by churches – in the name of God – on the LGBT community not been enough to render such an invitation and the venue offensive?
In fact, that welcoming statement is part of the invitation Church of the Cross has extended to all the other Lutheran Churches in the city (none of which are affirming,) other churches within our southwest community, and to affirming Anglican and United churches in Calgary.
But again, back to — why the church? The short answer (the long answer is in my essay) is that my story ends in this place. A selfish motive, and a suggestion that was initially questioned by my friend and reading partner for this launch, Dale Lee Kwong. But Dale, gracious and accepting woman that she is, handed this over to me and I am grateful both to her, and to Touchwood Press and Bruce Gillespie who, if they had reservations held them back.
The open arms with which Pastors Laura and Phil Holck responded to my request to hold the launch in the sanctuary at our/my church sealed my conviction that this was the place we needed to be.
I contemplated removing the mention of God’s renewal on the promotion that will go out to other communities for fear of offending potential audience members who are atheists, agnostics, non-Christians. But then I remembered that the secular world is far ahead of the Christian church on many issues of acceptance and inclusiveness. Respect, do not judge, accept one another as we are, are some of the basic tenets that keep my faith alive.
The readings and the Q&A moderated by Jonathan Brower will be held in the sanctuary and I am praying for a Saturday when the stained glass windows are streaming with light. There will be refreshments – basic requirements of both launches and all Lutheran events. There will be books for sale. An anonymous donor has offered to contribute $2 for every book sold to the church’s Families in Need fund or whatever other cause our pastors can suggest that speaks to inclusiveness.
I feel so honoured to have my story, a mother’s story, included in this anthology that at times I’ve felt that I should just be grateful and quiet. Quiet does not come naturally to me. And I have been reminded by the wise and comforting Dale, that the acronym is frequently LGBTA, the A standing for allies. I am an ally and so is my church. We will welcome you with open arms.
I suggested to Dale that maybe opening with a prayer for peace and justice would be appropriate and maybe a song that I love on that same theme could close the event. Here, she finally asserted herself and in retrospect, I know she was right on this call.
But this is my own page, we are not in a church and I do want to share a verse from that hymn, “Light Dawns on a Weary World”: “The trees shall clap their hands/the dry lands, gush with springs/the hills and mountains shall break forth with singing/ We shall go out in joy/and be led forth in peace, as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.”