No Matter Who You Are…
On Sunday, I told the congregation about a friend of mine that I knew back in high school. He was gay and struggling with his sexuality. He found it particularly difficult facing his feelings and attractions on the one hand, and hearing at church that his desires were sinful and disgusting to God. He became quite depressed and eventually suicidal. When he ended up in the hospital after having a breakdown, our pastor went to visit him. As the pastor listened, my friend shared his feelings, struggles to do the right thing, and wanting to please God. The pastor told him that it would be better to kill himself rather than to be intimate with another man, for at least that way (according to the pastor), he would more likely end up in heaven.
When my friend told me this story, I was beyond angry. “How could someone’s life become completely worthless because of his desires for love and intimacy,” I thought to myself. When my friend refused to admit that his desires were sinful and agree that he would never act upon them, it became apparent very quickly that he was no longer welcome at that church.
One reason I became ordained in the United Church of Christ is because we proclaim toeveryone: No matter who you are or where you have been on life’s journey, you are welcome here! I was so pleased on Sunday when our congregation voted unanimously to begin the process of becoming an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ. Over the next several months, the ONA Core Team from our church will be keeping us all informed of its progress and also inviting every single member and participant of our church to ask questions, share stories, express fears and opinions about people who may be different. We will also hear stories from people who may not have always felt welcome in other churches. I invite us all to open our hearts, our minds and our ears as we listen to one another and consider how we might be completely open about welcoming all people into the life of our church.
Kahu Alan Akana
Our Kahu (Pastor) offers a weekly message in church most Sundays during the year. Click HERE to see a video of a recent message from Sunday morning. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see many of his past messages and subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.