I am a conservative. I have conservative values and conservative beliefs. I express this to let you know my starting point with most any issue. This makes me neither right nor wrong. It is a simply a statement.
I met my best friend back in 1997 when my husband’s job moved our family to Plainfield, Illinois. Between the two of us we had 4 children ranging from a 1-year-old to a 5-year-old. Our husbands worked for the same company and our families quickly became close. Both families have been forced to move around the country several different times due to job relocations. Though we may have lived half-way across the country from each other we made sure to get together for holidays and vacations. When the kids hit middle-school age we were fortunate to have the company move both families to Mason. After over 10 years we finally lived in the same town again and became as close as ever. I went to see her children’s art exhibits and cheerleading events and she came to see my boys’ races and choir concerts. We have been blessed to attend 7 graduations together over the last 8 years and are beginning to plan the first wedding of the 4 kids. Our children have bonded so completely that they have joked about legally changing their last names to be a blend of both families’ names. My point is that we are all very close. I love these kids as if they were my own.
. . . . . .
A couple of years ago my friend’s oldest child, Tim, shared a secret that he had been harboring for over a decade. Tim is gay.
Though the kids are grown and living adult lives we all still get together on a regular basis. I still love Tim and enjoy spending time with him and his partner. But there are so many things that I don’t know and don’t understand. I would never dream of hurting Tim by saying something insensitive. However, due to my ignorance and fear of insensitivity things can get awkward at times. Tim is very patient and forgiving with all of us, showing us mercy and compassion when we utter a faux pas. I would like to exhibit the same compassion to Tim and learn a little perspective and understanding.
In February, the United Methodist church will consider several options in our path forward. In preparation, we want to offer the opportunity for the church family to be informed and educated by some of our own church community. Laura Witmer, and her significant other Patty Biltz, along with Lee and Dustin Tyson, will lead a conversation at the Gathering on Dec 1stat 5pm to share a perspective on the LGBT community. Laura is a Sales Account Executive at P&G (28 years of employment) and has been active in their Diversity efforts as the leader of the company’s training about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees. She is planning to share information, terminology, concepts and stories to educate and also clarify misconceptions, and will invite questions and conversation about LGBT people. Please join us to learn more as our church prepares for this important decision in February 2019.
This is not about choosing sides for a debate. I am not trying to change anyone’s values or beliefs. It is about knowing how to speak to each other with love and respect.