Reconciling: Why it Matters to Jenna
Dear family,

As our church moves through the journey of becoming a reconciling church I believe it is time to share my view on the subject. Many adults have shared their respectable opinion on the topic of reconciliation, and I would like to express a youth's.

My whole life I have seen children my own age be ostracized and belittled because of how they looked, how they spoke, what they wore, ect. I can confidently say everyone has faced some type of bullying because of who they are. I do not see the difference between isolating a person due to the color of their skin, their religion, or how new their shoes are, and their sexuality. It baffles me that a society based on freedom and rights can manage to exclude so many people. To me personally, my friends and family are suffering because of others ignorance and cowardliness toward the word "freedom". Freedom should not have an expiration date. Freedom should not have a checklist of criteria you need to meet to receive it. Freedom should be free.

It is hard for me to express how I feel about this subject because it is tough to put in words. I do not understand how someone can deny love to someone who has not inflicted any wrong doing to them. It confuses me how someone can close ears to someone before they give them a chance to speak. The amount of hate people receive for who they are, and what they have no control over changing. If an individual loves God and Jesus and wants to join our congregation, why would anyone want to stop them? Jesus Christ lived his life to teach the world of love and acceptance, not hate and exclusion.

I have grown up very lucky because my family and friends have always accepted me for who I am; however, in many cases, people are not accepted for who they are. People are scared of who they are, and they are taught to hide and be ashamed because society doesn't agree. I would not wish my worst enemy to live a life of fear and loneliness due to who they are. I have seen my friends try to hide who they are so they can escape the judgement of others. I have also seen my friends face awful harassment because they have chosen to be proud of who they are. The point is that people cannot live happily with who they are because of the ones around them. If our church can provide a community of open hearts and open minds, the Methodist oath, then maybe people wouldn't have to be scared of living. They can come to our sanctuary and feel peace and love fill them, and they can truly be who they are.

I guess what I am trying to say is, I support those who are a part of the LGBT community as much as I support those not. If you are a person with good intentions and love for all, you are more than welcome to consider yourself a part of my family. Please, do not exclude my family, it might be big and crazy, and we might not be blood related, but we all love each other. And that's the only type of family I ask for.

With love,

Jenna Schroedel=