A Long Awaited Joy
This week started with a major celebration! Monday morning I met with the Ordination and Standing Committee of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Greater Kansas City. This is the group that oversees the qualifications, training and continuing education of Clergy in our region. The committee voted to grant me full standing as an ordained minister in the denomination.
I originally met with this committee in 2006, as a first semester seminary student. Even though I was in school in California, it was important to me to honor my roots and to be ordained by the region and congregation I grew up within. The clergy of the region who had been my high school camp counselors were major role models for me as I accepted my own sense of calling into ministry at seventeen years old.
When I first met with the Ordination and Standing Committee, they were not Open and Affirming of LGBTQ people like myself. The landscape of LGBTQ equality looked very different in 2006 than it does now. The Christian Church Disciples of Christ was seven years away from recognition of LGBTQ equality within the denomination. As a country, we were seven years away from seeing the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and nine years from full federal marriage equality for same sex couples.
After meeting with the committee a couple of times it was clear we weren’t a good fit. I made the difficult, painful decision to transfer my Ordination process to the Northern California region. I was attending seminary there, and they were Open and Affirming. Because I was serving in non-traditional ministry settings, I was ultimately not eligible for Ordination in that region either.
For ten years I pieced together an ecumenical ministry of part time and freelance gigs among churches of many different denominations. Then, in 2018, Broadway Church hired me as Senior Minister. My first full time ministry job where I could be out as queer and I could dance in worship. After a decade in the wilderness, I had a community, a place to call my spiritual home.
My story and Broadway Church’s story share many commonalities - one of which is our tumultuous relationships with denominations and larger Christian institutions. Today I am happy to say that both the congregation and my leadership have been fully embraced within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I invite you to take a moment this weekend to celebrate with us in spirit.