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Reconciling: Why it Matters to Liz
This is my story about my motivation as a member of Brecksville United Methodist Church to reach out to the LGBT community as a reconciling faith community.

There once was a brother and sister who grew up in a small town with their mother and father and lots of relatives.  They were safe to venture out wherever they chose and were likely to encounter people everywhere who knew them.

Sunday was for church, starting at 9:30 with Sunday School, then Worship until noon, or later.  Sunday dinner was at frequently at Grandma’s house, followed by a snooze and then Bible study at 7:30 pm.  These were the days when children quietly stayed with their parents throughout the entire service.  Wednesday evening was prayer meeting at 7:30.  Their parents had choir practice at 8:30, so the brother and sister would walk across the street to Grandma’s house.  She would spend the next hour reading to them, because there was no TV.  They were well schooled in Biblical doctrines of salvation and righteous living.

Just two years apart in age brother and sister were best friends.  She loved sewing while he loved painting.  By the time he reached high school he was painting portraits, while she was costuming theater productions.  During their childhood it was quite clear he was not like other boys, but it seemed better to just ignore those differences.  It was likely just a phase.  The day came when he went off to college to study art.  A couple of years later brother and sister were reunited, sharing an apartment at Kent State.

On a wintery Sunday morning, this brother and sister finally had the courage to say aloud what had been left unspoken for too many years.  He was gay, born gay, always gay.  He was what preachers had pounded the pulpit condemning.  He was an abomination before God and the God fearing community that had surrounded them their whole lives.  Their parents could disown him.  Their relatives could shun him.  They must never, ever find out the truth about who he was and who he loved.  The brother and sister would maintain their silence.  Even to the end of their lives, the mother and father never acknowledged who their son was, although they surely knew in their hearts he was gay.

After years of longing for a faith community, the sister found herself at Brecksville United Methodist Church, where Rev. Taylor brought a refreshing and loving gospel to light.  She was home again, but the brother couldn’t take a chance.  Life taught him to be very circumspect about getting involved with Christians.  He has lived a life full of grace and generosity with a circle of people who can accept him just the way he is.  This September the brother and sister will celebrate 34 years with their respective life partners.

This story is my personal story, but not only mine.  There are thousands of families who have been down this path with stories that vary only in the details.  This is for them, as well.  What I want for our community is when a young gay or lesbian person comes to terms with who they are and who they love, they won’t have to be afraid of our response.  They and their friends and family will know that we will love and support them through the challenges.

Liz Fredrick, sister to a gay brother