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So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Shower of Stoles Project

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Worship Resources

Shower of Stoles Litany

Voices from the Silence
A Litany for Four Voices
Based on Stories from Stoles in the Shower of Stoles Project

VOICE 1:

Hear the voice of one who cries out from the wilderness:

You
You baptized me.
You taught me in Sunday School about Good News.
You told me about Jesus who loved me and wanted me to follow his self-sacrificing lifestyle.
You watched me and encouraged me to go into the ministry.
You told me Iíd make a good minister.

I followed your advice.

You tell me Iím a good minister.

Iíve spread the Good News about love.

Iíve served Godís children in the streets of New York City, in the countryside of South America, in the suburbs of Mid-America.

 

Iíve served you.

Iíve baptized your children.

Iíve married your family members.

Iíve sat and cried in the night with you as your spouse died, as your child overdosed, as you lost your job.

Youíve showered praise on me, telling me my actions are so Christ-like.

I reply that you taught me the way, Iím only grateful to be alive and allowed to serve.

 

But what will you say when you find out Iím gay?

Will you cry with me and feel the rage my partner and I feel, knowing we canít share our love with the church we live and die for?

Will you sense the injustice of our church that tells me Iím slime, Iím a pervert, Iím not able to minister, when you know otherwise?

Will you feel the irony of a church that brands me promiscuous yet will not honor and support my monogamous relationship of 5 years?

 

Or will you forget who I am?

Your minister

Your counselor

Your friend.

 

Youíve used me.

I need you.

Speak the truth.

Please.

 

See me as I am.

Your brother in Christ.
David M.

VOICE 2:

Hear the voices of those who cry out from a silent place:

Anonymous, Atlanta Georgia

J. B., Illinois

Anonymous Deacon, Oklahoma

VOICE 3:

Hear the voice of one who labors behind a veil of secrecy:

You know me.

I am your daughter, your pastor.

You nurtured me, encouraged me, ordained me.

For over 20 years I have served at every governing body level.

Yet I cannot tell you my name.

For me the risk is still too great.

I work and pray for the day when I am free to say who I truly am.

VOICE 4:

Jamie, my friend

For Joelle

For my brother, David

VOICE 1:

Hear the voice of fear in the silence:

Anonymous

I wanted to list my name. I thought it wouldnít bother me. I thought that I was over being afraid. But then I wondered where this stole might go.† Who might see? Would they know me? Would they have enough power to bring me harm if they knew my name? †I had forgotten my fear.† And that is why I have to give this stole, just for the one-in-a-thousand chance that somebody might see this and be changed.† I am called to ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. That call has been affirmed, equipped, and utilized.† I completed a Master of Divinity degree, served churches as a student pastor, led youth groups and college ministry events.† I also came out and made the conscious decision that I would not live in the closet so that I could serve my church.† I have since left the UMC and joined the Unitarian Universalist Church where I am welcomed, affirmed, encouraged and allowed to serve.

I wanted to list my name. But the fear is still too powerful.

VOICE 2:

For many gifted students I have taught, who remain closeted

For my colleague in ministry, who must remain silent

For two ministers in my conference, who are my friends and mentors

VOICE 3:

Hear the voices of those who are young and struggling to be heard:

Anonymous: T, B and D

We are three gay students at a Lutheran seminary.† Although our voices are silenced, we stand together in the faith that God has called us to ministry, and in the hope that one day soon our gifts will be honored by this church.

VOICE 4:

Anonymous, Princeton Seminary, Princeton New Jersey

Anonymous, The College of Wooster, Ohio

Anonymous, St. Paul Seminary, Kansas City

VOICE 1:

Hear the voice of one who has served his church and community faithfully, despite the roadblocks set before him:

Bill. Orange County, California. March 1998

I have been a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Explorer Scout, Scout Leader, DeMolay, Sigma Chi, U.S. Marine, Pilot.

I am a Son, Brother, Nephew, Cousin, Uncle, Friend, Physical Therapist, Health Care Administrator, Presbyterian Deacon and Elder, Non-Profit Board Member, Community Volunteer.

I was born a homosexual. Some say we are the only minority born into the enemy camp.† Twenty-eight years ago, thanks to a very special Presbyterian minister, I learned to accept my sexuality as Godís gift and His unconditional love as mine.

Wonít it be wonderful when His church can do the same!

VOICE 2:

Bill, Janet, Dave, Scott, Stephanie, Jim

VOICE 3:

Listen for the voice of one who cries out from the wilderness:

Anonymous

I send you an Advent stole, because I am one who waits ďin lonely exile here.Ē

I mourn for my brothers and sisters who also wait in exileÖ waiting for God to restore the Temple where all may freely serve.

VOICE 4:

Beth, Robert, Marco, Pat, Kyle, Rick

VOICE 1:

For the many students I have taught who must remain closeted.

For two anonymous pastors, who are my friends and mentors

For my father

VOICE 2:

Anonymous Boston, Houston, Wyoming, Mississippi, Kansas, Puerto Rico

VOICE 3:

Ivan, Tammy, John, Suzanne, Enrico, James

VOICE 4:

All who wait in silence: Anon


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More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ