The Pride Report

Moose Jaw Pastor Asks LGBT Community for Forgiveness

Used with permission from the Moose Jaw Times-Herald

Dear LGBT neighbours…

This week Moose Jaw is hosting our annual Pride Week and it’s sure to be a great celebration. If you’re from Moose Jaw, I congratulate you on living in a community where there’s a growing understanding that diversity is a gift. If you’re visiting our city for this week’s festivities, I hope you find warm hospitality from Moose Jaw’s good people.

Over the past few years of being a part of the Moose Jaw Pride board, I’ve been truly inspired by the hard work and dedication of those who make this week a possibility. They are good people and in the midst of the work, there’s room for many laughs and the building of friendships. I’ve also been inspired by their welcome of me as a minister. Realistically, it would be far too easy to see me and my clergy colleges with suspicion. So much of the persecution that you have endured over the years has been rooted in the church. Thank you for looking past biases and stereotypes in a way that has been very hard for many of us in the church, and thank you for welcoming me as someone who aspires to be an ally.

Realistically, I know that persecution is still a reality for many of you and that indeed, the church is still a part of this. I’ve had conversations with families who struggle to reconcile their Christian faith and the love of their child who has told the truth about who they are. I’ve talked to people who have been turned away from their churches because they’ve been told that being gay and Christian are mutually exclusive. I hope incidents like this are becoming more and more rare and I do believe the tide is turning.

Turning people away from our churches and being hostile toward people because of the way God makes us has never been a part of authentic Christianity and if we’re honest, it’s never really been about the Bible. If this discrimination was really Biblical, we’d all be protesting restaurants that serve shellfish and readying our stones to throw at people who work on the Sabbath.

Christianity is about love. Jesus said that that our love is how the world will recognize us as his followers. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God, our neighbours and ourselves. Is love in your life, and the freedom to love who you want, not what the Pride movement is all about? Your love should be seen as a blessing from God and please don’t accept anyone telling you otherwise.

Another important part of Christianity is forgiveness and so I ask you something which maybe I have no right to ask. I ask that you forgive the church and those of us who claim to follow the Way of Christ. As in so many other matters of civil rights that humanity has struggled with, the church has often been slow to get on board but once we do, we can be powerful allies. A rapidly growing number of us want to walk with you into a better future, a future where there will be no us and you, but only we.

Thank you to the many people and businesses of Moose Jaw who help to make Pride Week a reality and thank you to Moose Jaw Times Herald for your help with promotion and allowing me to write this letter. Be sure to check out the many events happening all week starting off with our A Spirit of Diversity

Rev. Jim Tenford is a minister at St. Andrew’s United Church.

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