Years ago as I attended our former church, the pastor made a definitive statement against gay marriage. He said the church has never supported anything but Biblical marriage and would in the future only support Biblical marriage. He didn’t expand beyond Biblical marriage being between a man and a woman. In my Bible, marriage gets a little dicey. I’m not sure it is what we think it is sometimes. While his statement was not a surprise to me, it was still a disappointment. I thought of the young people in the audience that particular day. I imagined struggling with my sexuality, believing it to be less than ideal, wondering how my family, how God would see me. And then to hear the claps from the audience. I felt sick to my stomach, imagining the pain and hopelessness.
And this past week, the news reported on a tragic story about Jamel Myles, a student at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School in Denver who came out as gay to his family this summer. Like many children, he couldn’t wait to return to school and share his new freedom and knowledge. His mother, Leia Pierce, said that after being bullied, Jamel took his own life after just four days in school. He was nine years old.
Left Hand Church is a place for everyone to come and work their things out. It may or may not be related to sexuality. It may or may not be related to gender. It may or may not be related to mental illness. Whatever it is, we preach inclusion and affirmation, seeking how best to love ourselves as we love God and our neighbors. I am grateful for this space we have all created that enables anyone of any age to find rest and to seek hope and peace. Part of our response as Left Hand Church is to partner with organizations within our communities that do the powerful work of love and belonging.
One of our partners is the Saint Vrain Valley Safe Schools Coalition (SVVSSC). This dedicated group of parents, educators, administrators, and agency partners is actively seeking to foster inclusiveness, creating safe learning spaces for all of our students. Last night I participated in the yearly retreat as we set priorities around anti-bullying curriculum to be piloted in the current school year.
At Left Hand it is a priority of ours to be involved in local agencies that do the good work of caring for our community. If this is something you would like to join us in, please contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are our local, state and national partnerships:
- Saint Vrain Valley Safe Schools Coalition
- A Woman’s Work
- Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE)
- Out Boulder
- Recovery Cafe (coming soon to Longmont)
- Longmont Multicultural Action Committee (LMAC)
- Soul 2 Soul (Denver)
- Colorado Interfaith Alliance
- Union of Affirming Christians
- W/ Collective
Pretty good for a young church, eh?