I am re-posting this short essay I wrote a year ago after I resigned from my former church. I do not post it to bring up old wounds for anyone. I post it to be clear about my own story, my reason for resigning, my deep love for Jesus and his teachings.
I recently resigned after 23 years of teaching and preaching at Orchard Hill Church.
I have been fielding questions about my departure. The most common being, Why?
The simple answer to that question is this: I have a theological difference with our senior leadership team and our Board of elders.
My understanding of Jesus and his radical grace-based welcome is that no one - NO ONE - is ever left out. Everyone belongs. Everyone has an equal seat at the table of Jesus' love. This radical welcome includes our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors in all their diverse beauty and humanity.
I am officiating a Christian same-sex wedding next summer. This choice has put me at odds with Orchard Hill Church policy which states that "marriage is between one man and one woman."
Rather than rescind my offer to perform the wedding, which I was asked to do, I resigned.
This choice has caused me great anguish. I have chosen to give up (for now) the work and calling I love. But, I did it willingly, for I could no longer preach and teach about the everyone-is-included welcome of Jesus while failing to welcome - fully welcome - those among us who often get pushed to the margins of our society and the church. Who often get most hurt by the church, who feel most rejected by Christ's people.
This is why I left.
I understand others have views different from mine on this issue. I respect and honor your right to those views. I trust you will do the same for me.
To my Orchard Hill Church friends and family: I love you. I loved leading the teaching team. I loved coaching our amazing squad of young teachers. But, I loved teaching first and foremost. You as a congregation have been so gracious and kind to me. You listened intently as I did my best to teach what I kept learning about Jesus. In fact, we learned right alongside each other. You laughed at my stories and bad jokes. You wept with me during times of hardship. You taught me how to more fully follow Jesus. You are all tucked right inside my heart.