Fredericton church dismisses young volunteer due to sexual orientation

By Brandon Ramey

The Crosspoint Wesleyan Church on Fredericton’s North Side dismissed a young volunteer earlier this week because he is gay.

haiti 4 300x200 Fredericton church dismisses young volunteer due to sexual orientation

Colin during his mission in Haiti.

Colin Briggs, 20, has volunteered at the church since 2011. He also worked as a camp counselor for two years. During his last year of high school in 2011, he joined a mission to Haiti.

Pastor Mark Brewer asked Briggs to stop by the church on September 18 for a meeting. The youth pastor, Nathalie Estey, was also present.

To his shock, they asked Briggs to stop his volunteer activities. They said he was welcome to continue attending church services.

“We felt it would be in the best interest of him and the church if he stopped serving,” said Brewer. This would “avoid any potential uproar that may be caused if families were to find out an openly gay male was working in the children’s ministry.”

“I felt disappointed. Personally and towards the church.” said Briggs.

Caitlin Sowers, 20, a fellow volunteer in the church’s child ministry, said the church’s actions shocked her.

“My heart hurt when I first heard about it,” she said, adding that Briggs is “hilarious, creative and great with the kids.”

In an interview, the pastor was asked what the difference was between attending church and volunteering there.

He hesitated, then said, “Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable.”

He insisted that the church works hard to ensure they are reaching and loving everyone.

Sowers disagrees. She feels that sexual orientation should not influence how the church treats people.

“I don’t think it’s right to allow peoples’ stigma to influence the churches decision,” said Sowers. “The church should not be influenced by hatred.”

“These are two huge parts of my life and I just wish they could co-exist.” Briggs said.

 

Brandon Ramey is a second year journalism student at St. Thomas University.

Clarification: The full name of the church was omitted in a previous version of this story.

 

Editor: Patrick Lowe

 

 

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58 comments

  1. If the ministry feels that other church members will have an issue with it, obviously they are homophobic and can’t control themselves. I can’t believe this takes place in the 21st century. Keep doing what you do Colin

    • Your justification is exactly why the church is crumbling. The book also says slavery is okay. Do you believe they should allow that too? This young man was doing good work that others don’t have the time or initiative to do, and helping the less fortunate. He’s closer to Christ than ANY bigot who would feel “uncomfortable” about him helping. Shame on then, and shame on their apologists (you).

      • The church is crumbling .Most defenetally, and having gay priest,ministers,volunteers are helping. The damage has been done we all no about all the things that happened in the past. We need to not let this keep going on enough enough.Nothing personal but if your gay I think you should find a new profession.

    • Okay, I agree with you that yes, they did not tell him to leave and never get back, but they bending to the whims of a culture that has no idea what the Bible truly teaches about homosexuality, which is nothing really. Basically, they are doing what many churches did to women–accept LGBT people into the Church, but silence any of us for being who we are. What this church is doing is trying to please the status quo by putting this young man in the background as window dressing, rather than engaging the theological issues in light of all of the wonderful things that it sounds like he is doing. Oh, and you talk about mixed messages–how in the HELL is shoving someone to the side loving? Being gay is not a choice, or a lifestyle regardless of what you think. Christians need to get educated on LGBT issues beyond the narrow biblical understandings, or else they will lose a very crucial voice.

      • yeah, the Bible says a lot of stuff.

        Tell me, ever eaten shell fish? Worn mixed fibres? Worked in any way at all on the Sabbath…which incidentally according to the Bible is on Friday not Sunday. Either is acceptable sabbath wise though.

        So… any of those or the 600 or so other commandments you seem to be ignoring?

        You did read THAT bit of the Bible as well didnt you?

        Now….back to your pathetic argument about the Bible condemning homosexuality therefore you have to do exactly what the book says.

      • Jonathan Bryant October 1, 2013 at 1:51 am -

        Really, the bible teaches nothing on Homosexuality, what bible are you reading? Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Romans 1:26-27 “26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

        27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” It is clear from these passages that the bible which was spoken by God to men which wrote down His words that homosexual acts are sinful. And yes we are to love all of humanity and the church does practice that, we are friends to all, however we are not to be friends with sin. Sin is to be repented of and fled from, it is not to be apart of our lives for it destroys us physically, emotionally, mentally, and most of all spiritually. That is the teachings of the church. Our job is to guide and direct those that wish to leave sin behind how to do so through the plan of salvation, being repentance, baptism in Jesus Name, and receiving the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues (unlearned language) and from there leading them in the lifestyle of holiness. If you or anyone else has a problem with this then I feel sorry for you, but be informed that the Church of Christ will not cease and desist in it’s mission to reach the lost of this world and help them out of the clutches of Satan who is the true hater of humanity.

    • Understand the bible, their is a big difference between the old and new testament. One showed how the laws were in the old testament, and how the laws were to be interpreted after Christ came. Thats why He came in person,to show how man had distorted what God had intended for them. LOVE is what its all about. In this case love the person and hate the sin he perpetuates.

      • Oh right…. so according to the letters of Paul and references in the New testament owning slaves is OK, and those slaves are also instructed to be good obedient slaves, not disobey their masters or seek to overthrow them, and to grovel and await their rewards in Heaven.
        That would be the same Paul who preaches the gospel of Jesus and was one of his right hand men.
        Now… what were you saying about how the two parts of the Bible are morally different?
        When you have finished wallowing around in the slavery hypocrisy pool of poison, we can move on to what good old Jesus and his buddy Paul say about women eh?

      • @Dave S
        The Bible uses the Hebrew term ebed to refer to slavery; however, ebed has a much wider meaning than the English term slavery, and in several circumstances it is more accurately translated into English as servant or hired worker.During the first century New Testament times, slaves converted to Christianity, were regarded as freedman brothers in Christ and included in Christ’s kingdom inheritance. These slaves were told to serve their masters as if they were serving Christ, with morals, faithfulness, and respectfullness (Ephesians 6:5-8 KJV). Slaves were told by Paul the Apostle in his first Corinthian Epistle that they were to seek or purchase their freedom whenever possible. (I Corinthians 7:21 KJV).In several Pauline epistles, and the First Epistle of Peter, slaves are admonished to obey their masters, as to the Lord, and not to men. Masters were also told to serve their slaves in the same way. WiKi

    • Lynn McCarty-Brown September 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm -

      Well said my friend~ I tried to have this same discussion recently with a few people, the problem they ( the people who called me and others like you is, they call us intolerant but they in fact only view tolerance as that if you agree with their viewpoint, I like you have friends who are openly gay, but I do not condone their life style as I believe it is wrong.

    • The church is nothing but hypocrisy. Eating shrimp is a sin according to the bible. Do they kick volunteers to the side for eating at Red Lobster? Give me a break. If you have gay friends as you claim go express your opinion to them. Tell them you think they aren’t worthy, beneath you and worthy of your contempt. Your argument is weak and ignorant. How are they going to explain this to the kids that look up to him. “I know you like him but he’s gay and dangerous, you can’t be around him”. Well done Christians. I feel your love like a cattle prod!

    • Would it be wrong to dismiss someone after they admitted they are a practicing alcoholic and do not feel they need to change their drinking habits?

      • I don’t understand your comment, Mr. Cameron.

        If a person was intoxicated, they would pose dangers both to themselves and their wards, and the public getting to and from their assignment.

        Homosexuality poses no greater danger then being British or red haired.

  2. Colin, I am so sorry to hear about this! I was shocked just reading it. You have the Human right to be who you are and what you faced is a form of discrimination that should not be swept under the rug and forgotten about. I applaud Caitlin for speaking about this and standing up for what is right and voicing what is wrong with this situation.

  3. Yet again, another reason religion is stupid. With it supposed to be a place for love and understanding, and then making this move, just more bad rep they don’t need. Completely deplorable. Sorry Colin, very unfortunate but hopefully you may find another spot that wants and WILL appreciate your help.

  4. What makes you believe the pastor was misquoted? And in what context do you imagine his comments were taken out of?

    • No, Bob, there are a number of faith communities – even Christian ones – who would celebrate who he is, including the fact that he is gay. I’m part of a congregation in The United Church of Canada who has both gay and straight folks in ministry with everyone – including children.

    • “Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable.”

      If they feel “uncomfortable,” that’s their problem. We live in Canada, where being gay is not illegal. Not only that, same-sex marriage is legal. To allow churches to discriminate against gay people is wrong. Allowing churches to be exempt from anti-discrimination legislation is wrong.

      You said above: “I have MANY homosexual and lesbian friends and colleagues and I accept them as they are. I am not mean to them or discriminate against them in any way. That said, please read every word that follows.” That’s like saying: Some of my best friends are black. It sheds light on the fact that not only are you a bigot, you’re delusional.

  5. I have just written the following letter to the editor at the Daily Gleaner and really hope it gets published. Thanks so much for this article!

    To Editor:

    As a church minister, I was saddened to ready in the STU Beacon the story about the man that was dismissed from being a volunteer at Crosspoint Wesleyan Church here in Fredericton simply because he is gay.

    The reason given for Colin’s Briggs dismissal makes no sense to me. He was told that his sexual orientation might make the parents of children he works with uncomfortable. If that is the case, then clearly the issue is with the parents and not with Briggs who is just being the person that God made him to be.

    I want people of all sexual orientations to know that there indeed churches in our city that offer safe spaces for you to be yourself and where you are welcome to fully participate in the life and the work of our communities no matter who you are.

    Churches should be places filled with love and acceptance. It is not acceptable in this day and age for people to use religion to hurt other people nor is it acceptable to hold on to bigoted views and irrational fears.

    Rev. Ali Smith
    Forest Hill United Church
    Fredericton

  6. I attend the church in question, and know both Mark and Natalie on a personal level. I never even knew that Colin was gay, and I’m sorry to hear that we rejected him. Like I said, I’ve known them both for a long time, and I’m certain neither of them are homophobic or bigoted in such a way.

    But I DO however, know our congregation, and with such a large amount of people (I think we’re around 500 now?), it is likely that someone IS that homophobic or bigoted. The Church is like any other social group, where the vocal minority can cause the biggest pain. I think Mark did this to prevent a large amount of drama and finger-pointing in the congregation, not because he didn’t want Colin working with kids.

    I’m sorry to hear it, and I really hope he keeps attending, but I doubt he will now that he’s been excluded from something because of his sexual orientation. If anyone is to blame here for a lack of understanding narrow-mindedness, it’s the church congregation as a whole. Like leaders often do, Mark had to make a tough decision. I don’t agree with it, and I think there might have been a better answer, but I do support that he is always acting to keep the church together. So there’s my two cents.

  7. Jon K, you raise the question : ‘… If this is a principle of the faith of the church, should they be expected to act against their own beliefs?…’ The answer is a resounding YES, when that which you refer as a principle, is nothing other than pure discrimination against another human being, You go on to suggest: ‘… would that not make them hypocritical ?…’ Well, what in my observation makes them hypocritical, is this pretense of christian virtuousness, while cultivating, behind the closed doors of a neighborhood congregation, pure homopĥobia and discrimination as dignifying virtues. Being born gay has never and never will be wrong !!! The individuals whom still use a book to justify their personal prejudices is however undoubtedly wrong.

  8. Copernicus and Galileo are excellent examples of why a “well-established religious community” should, in fact, consider conforming to values previously considered heretical. The whole idea of protest in this story is because there is a continuing imbalance against one party. Canada is about balance and you, Ima Tolerator, are not on the suffering side. In fact, you are actually not a tolerator and therefore should change your alias. There is a modicum of political correctness expected in this country and a pox on you for rejecting it.

  9. If openly gay people are seen as a threat then openly heterosexual people are also a threat. A heterosexual male could come on to girls and a heterosexual female could come on to boys. Why are gay men assumed to be a threat to boys? They are NOT pedophiles, they are attracted to MEN!!!! It is time that people stopped equated gay men with pedophiles.

  10. First of all, Brice Veinot’s comment said religion is stupid, not religious people. It’s not bigoted to disagree with an institution no matter how eloquently his dissent is worded. Secondly, it’s a selfish thing to compare a person calling a part of your life stupid to a person LOSING a major part of his life because of bigotry.

    The bible teaches to love thy neighbor and god will do the judging but I feel that when it comes to judging the LGBT community people have forgotten that. There’s much more written about loving everyone than the one passage in Leviticus about being gay. Did you know that the bible puts as much weight on eating shellfish and wearing clothing of mixed fabrics? You can’t blame the bible for your homophobia if you don’t follow EVERY rule laid out in it. So in short, YES they can be expected to go against their “beliefs” when they’re beliefs are fabricated and don’t even follow the bible.

    ps. Are you a journalist? Do you write for a paper? Where do you find your authority to grade and judge journalism? Go crawl back under whatever bigoted rock you cam out from under.

  11. Cicero Contrarian September 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm -

    People have a special hate for religion because it is especially meant to represent some higher power, but then they accept all the other failings of humanity as simple sins, but apparently being gay is a forever get thy ass from church sin. Would a serial adulterer be unable to volunteer? I highly doubt that would be an issue? A self abuser? Liars, cheats? All would be welcome. But not the gays. His comments were clearly not misquoted either, the author gave him credit, at least “He hesitated” before stating that “having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable” and then entirely contradicted that point with “the church works hard to ensure they are reaching and loving everyone.” That is just blatantly untrue when you pick and choose from your own beliefs, there is no equality in the church. Today’s churches are mostly a shelter for the bigoted and discriminatory policies of yesteryear. Is there another group that gets to persecute gays and still be considered a non profit. No, and talk to the CRA about getting charitable status if you believe otherwise. The facts are all there to show that church is a tool of indoctrination to a set of beliefs that is far behind what are the contemporary values of today’s youth. Tomorrow’s youth will be even more greatly accepting (one would hope), so without DRASTIC CHANGE church is going to become more and more derided by the general public.

    • Cicero Contrarian September 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm -

      It is outdated and incorrect… and in fact, you miss my point. The church does accept many types of sinners. Are you telling me every member at the church potluck is totally pure of sin? I guess no one tells you any gossip? Think about it, why this issue? It s only because the church specifically focuses on gays ie homophobia. What does “grieve for all who decide to “find out when they go” as it will be too late to change.” if you mean in heaven, i laughed out loud. Better watch out I don’t end up on the naughty list this year too.

  12. I can not believe this at all. This is making my blood boil. This youngster is actually doing something for his community, his church, his peers, himself and for those wonderful children. We were just reading on how much our country was against the “NO” rights gays will be having in Russia and you turn around to read such a story in our own backyard. What makes it not right? He has a different sexual orientation yes but for as long as he is doing the “job” as a volunteer correctly and does not preach or bother anyone about his sexually preference there is no reason for him not to be there doing that position. What will this make the parents and parish when they explain to those children that he will no longer be there as a leader for them? How will it be told? Quite possible that it will make the church look like biggots and parents look like liars as they will not tell them exactly why cause they want to hide this subject from them. If I were Colin at this point in the game I would go to a parish that appreciates who he is as a person and for what he can give to the community. You obviously have a big heart and you obviously are a great person. And for all of you at the church who did this to him God will make you pay for your actions, if not now, one day!

  13. I do not think that the reason that they let Colin go is because they are afraid that parents of the children might be uncomfortable with an openly gay person working with their children. Even if it was a “concern” to parents, a normal person would just be like, you know, too bad for those parents. But no, INCASE some parent of some child might be uncomfortable with it they let the good volunteer go. Not what normal people do, they did this because they, themselves are homophobic in hopes of Colin not attending services anymore. SO angering.

  14. The Wesleyan church here in St. Andrews has had at least one gay pastor, if not more. This is very shocking and I hope the church reverses its position and apologizes to Colin for this blatant discrimination. He should file a complaint with the NB Human Rights Commission as well.

  15. As the Father of Colin and being a Christian all I can say is that the church handled this all wrong. Colin is a caring and giving person because of who he is inside his heart, not because of his sexual orientation.He came out about a year ago and I’m sure the church knew about it .so why has it taken so long to do what they feel is right ? It seems like someone put a bug in their ear and stirred the pot. Being gay does not = pedophile if anything it is the complete opposite.I am not an expert on religion nor on homosexuality but I am an expert on my son and he is a beautiful loving child of GOD.

    • Rev. Hazel-Jane Morris September 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm -

      Mark, you are so right, and I am so sorry this happened to Colin. Please let him know there is a great deal of support for him elsewhere. For example, see Rev. Ali Smith of Forest Hill United Church’s post and letter to the editor.

    • Amelia Kirkpatrick September 23, 2013 at 11:25 am -

      When I read this I saw the glaring issue…that becaue Colin came out as gay this church equates his orientation with pedophile…actually most pedoplhile masqurade as fine outstanding “straight” citizens and many, many of them are in churches where they find their victims and families to groom.
      This church and its leaders would profit from a little education and loving hearts with open minds.

    • thanx Jennifer ..that’s my son and he does not deserve this at all,,hes a great person with a big heart
      ………

  16. THIS is the type of discrimination that teaches children it is OK to judge people (which leads to hate). I find it hard to believe that any God would encourage treating one another this way. Seems to me the church is suppose to be about your relationship with God, not about your intimate relationships.

    Colin sounds like a loving and caring soul who wants to help people, that is what I learned defined a good christian. This church is sending a very negative message…

  17. Colin, there is a part of the Body of Christ in this city where your sexual orientation is not an issue. Find us Sunday morning in the lodge in O’Dell Park. 10am. We would love to have you. Bring friends!

  18. I agree here. Frankly I’m ashamed of the pastor; firing someone on the off possibilty that somebody MIGHT get upset seems rather cowardly to me. Frankly an “uproar” might have presented the opportunity to open a dialogue on the topic. However, not being a member of the congregation-nor, for that matter, a Christian- I can only speak in the abstract. Things may be more volatile than they appear and the situation more fragile.

  19. I totally agree ! I think that society ( and many Churches ) confuse being gay with being a pedophile. Why does one’s sexual orientation have to enter ones desire to give to society ,and in this case to help , support and love the children of this world ? As has been said so many times before—-what would Jesus do ?

  20. It’s not discrimination to ridicule someone’s beliefs.
    I fully agree that the church is has every right to run it’s organization however it feels fit to (inside the law).
    They also are free to be mocked. Religion shouldn’t be treated as a sacred cow.

  21. Barb Hayen- Holt September 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm -

    Hold your head high Colin, be proud of who you are, this is just pure ignorance rearing it’s ugly head..There will be better things coming your way..Be who you are & say what you feel, because those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter …Good luck ..Love and Prayers…

  22. Colin is a very good loving and caring person,and for sure its the Church that is loosing,not Colin.He has touched so many in his volunteering,and loved by all. We try and speak up about discrimination.,that what this is.We are ALL GOD CHILDREN.THINK ABOUT IT.The church is not to judge people.

  23. I don’t understand how sexual orientation gets confused with child molestation. He is gay, not a pedophile! Some people should really look at the big picture and let the young man be a good citizen. No wonder the world is so screwed up!

  24. They did not accept him as he is. There were conditions and limits. They accepted him but obviously not completely as they chose to limit the level of participation they allowed him to have in the church. I could pop into the Wesleyan church off the street and be in the congregation but still not be a member. The message they sent to Briggs was, “You can come and watch but please do not consider yourself one of us.”

  25. The biggest problem with all of this is that it is all about the church and has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus or his teachings. If these institutions really were all about what Jesus taught and the word that he spread, none of this would have happened. Christian churches often (not always and not all; but some are tolerant, open and accepting…much like Jesus, incidentally…) do what is in their own interest and don’t really follow the kind of love and tolerance that Jesus preached.

    The message this church sent to Briggs (and many other people who might not fit their “ideal”) was “You can come and watch, but please know that you are not one of us; you don’t belong.”

  26. Another demonstration of why religion has no real place in a modern, progressive and intelligent society. This young man needs to volunteer for groups or organisations that do not discriminate and never set foot in this particular church again, along with his friends and supporters.

  27. Greg, I disagree with a christians stance to ‘love’ gay people but not ‘accept’ the way they live. This isn’t loving anyone.. If you love someone you love them for who they are not suggesting how they live is wrong and need to change. I think you need to see the post from earlier someone posted. I would love to hear your feedback since christians hatred of homosexuality is based on scripture.

    To all the folks on here saying that homosexuality is against what is written in the Bible, I would encourage you to read the following letter. It appears that there are many things in the Bible that you have no problem saying are outdated or ridiculous but yet you focus on the passages about homosexuality.
    In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger has said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response was posted on the internet and is best regarded as an essay clearly meant for a wider audience than just Dr Laura. It is a general reminder that many belief systems pick and choose their way through biblical teachings in determining what is “right” and “wrong”. Authorship has been attributed to several, but remains unconfirmed.

    Dear Dr. Laura:

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. Clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Your adoring fan.

  28. It’s a shame than none of the above references to the God of the Bible are relevant to this discussion, or to any other meaningful conversation, since there is no reason to think that He exists. If there is, please let me know and I’ll stand corrected.

  29. I’m not even going to try to argue with you – homosexuality is not a choice, and unless you yourself are a homosexual, you 100% cannot try to say that it is.

  30. “He insisted that the church works hard to ensure they are reaching and loving everyone.”
    The only people they are reaching with this kind of mindset are the closed minded ones. Do they really find it so shocking that church attendance is on the decline?
    I find it difficult to believe the Pastor would actually use the word love referring to any of this. They are certainly not showing love to a dedicated member and volunteer, nor to the children that will be missing out on his presence. They aren’t showing love to anyone homosexual. How can they say they work hard to love everyone when excluding an entire demographic of people? People who God loves just as much as straight people, since as you know He loves us all.
    Shame on you.

  31. The Pope is moving towards the New Century, but this church just has no balls to stand up for either side.

    This type of doing nothing really allows homophobia to continue underground in their commune.

  32. k well as colins mom I just wanna say thank you everyone for ur support …that church is losing a great person to help out with thereyouth,,colin is a great and caring person…he did not deserve this….I know him more than anybody and those who don’t maybe you should before you JUGDE him…….im so proud of him for sticking up for what he believes in…….love you colin and ur family and ur friends

  33. The Rev.d Lance Lyons October 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm -

    `The Church` has a MUCH BIGGER ISSUE than this one ! ! ! While I appreciate the position that clergy are in, I must say that ` Christianity ` has brought it unto itself.

    We were commissioned by Jesus to “ … go into all the world and preach The Gospel. “ The preaching is in our being, not our doing; ANYONE can take on the `good Christian thing` . With Jesus` proclamations, the reign over religion by The Pharisees was over for ALL ! It might be hard for us to accept the simple path but the GOOD NEWS was and still is GOD`S LOVE, GRACE and ACCEPTANCE of HUMBLE SINNERS . In fact, it was pointed out in earlier instructions by The Church that ANY of my attempts to gain salvation through `good living` or outward moral standards would be an attempt to destroy The Gospel and is DAMNABLE to my soul.

    This may be revolutionary to many in churches today. But, for those of us who still believe in The Early Church and recite The Gospel Creeds of Belief, morality and moral laws are NOT included. (Find them and read them.) Through the guidance of God`s Holy Spirit, The Church knew from it`s early beginnings of the quandary that would lie ahead if they strayed from Christ`s message. WE`VE ARRIVED THERE ! The quandary has emptied the buildings.

    Coupled with the agenda of salvation through `good living (while shouting out about God`s love and grace) the pre-occupation has been with SEX. One cannot say the word `immorality` near a church unless someone interprets it a sexual connotation.

    Even though God CREATED the human desire for spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy with HIM, firstly, and then with others, `The Church` has followed the world (like Hollywood and pornography) into enticement by deeming the mere word, S_ _ , as dirty, filthy, sinful; instead of something so close to God that it`s personal and private. (The Roman Church began making it dirty with celibacy and the Protestants followed in many other ways.) Let`s NEVER forget that we all have been born into the human state of sinfulness but NO parent is committing sin through the act.The Church has desperately failed by not proclaiming GRACE. Grace is not a licence to do our own thing but a gift of redemption offered to all humble souls who conclude that they NEED grace.

    I am now retired from The Church, with no legal repercussions by those who have GRASPED on to power and authority through paying deference to congregational or parish ` affluence` or money. It`s great to be free ! But, it is always a greater joy to celebrate God`s mercy and acceptance with others.

    Let`s face it: Mary, Jesus` mother, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Theotokos, The Mother of God would be shunned by `The Church` today: a young, unmarried, engaged girl`s belly bulging with pregnancy; not back then and not now.

    And, ask yourself how long would Jesus last as a greeter at the door on Sunday mornings if he began to whisper in our ear that we better leave as soon as they stop celebrating God`s love and grace towards sinners, starting down that slippery road of morality. We might say that`s why he had to be murdered: he was making it clear that Almighty God wanted a RELATIONSHIP with him because HE KNEW that, left unto ourselves, we`d go back to the old game of fooling ourselves- with moral laws, with our doings and our not doings- instead of our being.

    I can see some people that I`ve buried years ago standing with faces pressed up against the fence to paradise arguing that they are as `good living` ,or even better, than some of those guys inside.

    CHRISTIANS ARE NOT MOSLEMS- or, at least, we must recognize that we are on an absolutely different path. If the Four Gospels takes precedence in our understanding of God, some of us might be utterly shocked to know that HE was NOT into morality; instead, HIS GOSPEL was about relationship with God through His Holy Spirit and the ethical standards of our heart in dealing with others.

    I`m afraid that the system has moved DEEPER into morality and thus away from relationship with God- away from Christ and a new heart with HIS higher ethical and merciful standards with others.

    This might make most religious people uncomfortable, be shocking and even revolutionary to some others; however, there`s no alternative left but for `The Church` to find it`s way back to Christ and HIS CHURCH.

    L+