My story of Sacred Worth is about my JOURNEY of COMING OUT by becoming a Reconciling United Methodist in 1996. It was just before General Conference in 1996. Nancy McMurtry, a good friend, asked me to sign a card saying I would be a “Reconciling United Methodist” and I decided to sign it realizing it was time for me to “come out” as an ally. I had no idea where this JOURNEY would take me at that time but I knew it was a commitment to COME OUT as an ally and to COME OUT personally to be more visible as a person supporting persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. I also knew I would have a lot to learn along the way with many challenges and struggles as most journeys are!
I knew what “coming out” meant as I had come out to myself about being sexually abused as a child in the years just ahead of this. I have come to realize that this very simple task of signing this card, (or signing on at the new website http://www.Rmnetwork.org) became the starting point for me to mentally & spiritually take the risk to start this journey of listening to other stories and being more aware of those around me who were searching for any SIGN OF HOPE in our churches and
communities to be SAFE.
Through the past eleven years I have become more aware of how important small SIGNS OF HOPE are to all of us and especially to folks who are looking for any shred of HOPE in our churches. Once when my husband was called to a home to meet with an older couple in the church he had no idea what they were wanting to share. He arrived to find them wanting to share about the HOPE they had found in a simple church newsletter article about an upcoming Telling Our Stories” program planned by RUMOLA at Cornerstone in Lincoln. They had used a yellow marker to HIGHLIGHT it in the church newsletter. Then they told him about their daughter and her partner and how they wanted to come to this gathering. This simple newsletter article became a way of sharing a SIGN OF HOPE for them and in return they gave all of us a SIGN OF HOPE back when they came to this gathering!
Another time recently a mother emailed us to tell us how glad she was we had a Reconciling Community in our church as one of her children had just come out to them over the holidays. She was so relieved to know there was an OPEN HEARTS group in the church so she could come and find strength for this new journey. She had read about it in our church newsletter as her SIGN OF HOPE!
Newsletter articles don’t seem very important but another person came to our last meeting from another town because of seeing an article about our meeting in a local church newsletter. So these simple SIGNS OF HOPE are so important as we have many people looking for anyway to feel accepted and affirmed by the church. Parents, families and friends in our local churches are looking for people they can trust and safely talk to about having children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
When I think of all the SIGNS OF HOPE in my life through new experiences, new friends, & new faith understandings about sexuality that have GRACED my life through signing this card eleven years ago, I rejoice in all the ways spring is COMING OUT now in our lives; and I think of all the ways we need to show SIGNS OF HOPE to each other through our church newsletters, our conversations, our rainbows, our groups, our emails, and our new ways of making our churches SAFE to ALL persons!
We can keep COMING OUT like spring, like newsletter articles, like sharing our STORIES OF SACRED WORTh, like the rainbow, like Jesus CAME OUT with his message of LOVE to those around him who were marginalized and shared his compassion with all persons! Signs of HOPE!
Maureen Vetter, Grand Island, NE
PS:- I rejoice every time I come out to myself or someone else comes out to me-