It was probably 8 years into our relationship that we decided to find a church we thought would be accepting of who we are. We went to Life Christian Church, which at the time was on Gravois in Fenton. At first, the church welcomed us with open arms, they loved us. They told us God loved us no matter what. We attended for about 1 1/2 yrs and then paid to participate in a retreat type of class called Cleansing Ministry. It was during that retreat that a small group of people approached us and said they wanted to talk to us. A couple of them were people who said they “used to be gay”, but God showed them the way to his path of not living in sin. So we asked, “Are you telling us we are living in sin in your eyes??” I went on to say. “All this time, you said we were welcome, but only on your terms, if we are not gay, correct?” They said, “Yes”. We said goodbye…one church down.
Following that experience, we did not go to church for quite a while. Sandy actually started going back to the Catholic church that she once attended just to be going to church. But for me, I could not bring myself to go to yet another church that was going to tell me I was living in sin because I loved Sandy.
Then my mom told me about this amazing church she attends. They are so welcoming. You guys will be welcome there I promise. If they don’t welcome my daughters, I’m out of there. We were sure they were gay-friendly, so Sandy and I went. After attending for about 3 weeks, both Sandy and I felt that the people were insincere and Sandy stopped going. Sandy went back to the Catholic church. I on the hand chose to stay there, this church was the Crossing in Fenton, I liked it. I met one of the female pastors. I was struggling with my faith and some personal stuff as well. The pastor said she would walk the hard journey with me. I did not hide the fact that Sandy and I were a couple. Actually Sandy and I traveled to Chicago to get married while I was attending the Crossing. The pastor told me that God loved me and it was not her place to judge, but that it was outside the teaching of the bible to be gay. She had me read a book entitled, “Washed and Waiting”. The book was about a gay guy who remains living without a partner because that is what God wants gay people to do…go thru life without knowing any type of love. As time went on this pastor kept suggesting I take a break from Sandy and see if I could be happy without her. I asked her. “Would you be happy without your husband?” She told me that her situation was totally different. She was married to a man. The head pastor of the church was sending a few pastors on retreats and to seminars on how to help people who are gay. Yes, I said, “how to help people who are gay”. I asked if I could be baptized, I was told, “You would be a hypocrite if you got baptized while you are gay.” Shortly after that, I received an email from the pastor who had been walking with me, telling me she could not talk to me anymore and that I needed to leave. Yep, leave.
Then finally, we found Union UMC, night and day difference. From day one, they knew who we are, and that is, we are a gay married couple, and that is OK with them. Our first week at Union UMC was AMAZING, we met so many friendly, caring people. On the way home from church that first Sunday, Sandy and I were like did that just happen? Really??? My 2nd week attending Union UMC, I was baptized and I was not told I was a hypocrite for doing so. Pastor Chelsey is AMAZING, she is down to earth, she preaches and teaches about what is relevant today. Sandy and I both agree that we could listen to Pastor Chelsey preach ALL day. The Union UMC family is amazing, and yes I said FAMILY because that is what they are to us. We have NEVER felt more comfortable anywhere else. And we finally found our church home.
And that is our story.
— Traci & Sandy