I was baptized and confirmed in the United Methodist Church, Loving parents and a nurturing church family raised my siblings and me. We enjoyed UMYF and the monthly Family Night Suppers at our church. When I realized that I was a lesbian, I felt I couldn't share my discovery with my family or my church for fear of rejection, and I didn't for many years. But I tired of the constant struggle to share parts my life with my family and friends without revealing the whole truth, especially the part about the woman I love. I was living two separate lives.
Finally I gathered the courage to come out to my family. All responded with support except my brother, who responded by sending me an article about gay persons who had been transformed and were no longer attracted to the same gender. When we met face to face my brother told me I was going to hell if I didn't change. He didn't understand that my orientation was not a choice. I tried to reassure him that I wasn't going to hell but he didn't believe me. We couldn't even agree to disagree. Now, ten years later, we are attempting to mend our relationship. We are talking again, We finally found common ground on which to meet; we love each other.
I still attend Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, the church that nurtured me as a child, as do my parents. Many members of the congregation support my partner and me. And many members struggle with the issue of homosexuality. But we, as a congregation, are talking about it. We can share our differing beliefs with one another because we share the love of Christ and we respect each other.
I hope that our conference will continue to struggle with the issue of homosexuality, will continue to create opportunities for dialogue, in the conference and in the individual congregations, and will always remember that we are all one body in Christ, called to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Lois L. Wright
Chapel Hill, NC