I am the current Chaplain of Integrity/Saskatoon . I see that role as one of pastoral support and sacramental ministry. Integrity met to discuss what we should do to facilitate dialogue. We came up with the idea of a workshop. I attended the planning meetings but my role was not to direct but rather to be a pastoral presence and a link to the wider diocese.
We chose a young woman who is an ordained deacon in a local United Church. She had done a study session, which a member of Integrity had attended. The young woman was contacted and the group met with her to plan the workshop. During one meeting, I was sitting beside this woman.
I maybe need to explain that I am very much down at the hetero end of the sexuality scale. Most of my homosexual friends were male so I knew that I did not feel threatened in the least by them. I wasn't so sure when it came to females.
At this one meeting we were all sitting their talking. At one point, I realized that the young woman had her arm laying along the back of my chair. Now, if this was a man, I might have felt uncomfortable. And as I mentioned above, I wasn't sure how I would feel in close contact with a woman. Some level of my brain registered that her arm was there and that I was not worried or uncomfortable at all.
I will also admit that I have been uncomfortable with physical expressions of love/affection between homosexuals (but then overt seriously sexual expressions on the part of heterosexuals also bother me). I have discovered over the past year that this discomfort is lessening.
And so I continue on my journey. For me key points have been:
1. My conversation with my father that started this journey
2. My realization that the idea of same-sex relationships did not bother me
3. My study of scripture
4. My prayer/conversations with God on my internship
5. My realization that my support did not rely on the genetic/choice debate
6. My research and presentation to diocesan council
7. My realization that I am becoming totally at ease with physical expressions and with lesbians
As I write this, I am very conscious that I am a heterosexual person with no first hand experience of what it like living as a gay in a hetero world. I have been honest about my questions and where I stand. Usually, I might write with more of an eye to the correct language or with concern as to how my words and attitudes might come across to someone who is gay. I haven't done this here as I think it is important that I be bluntly honest about how my journey has come about. If what I have said rubs people on the raw, I apologize and regret what it is that may hurt but I cannot change what I have said for it is my experience.
Love and Prayers,