It was a grueling day.

My morning was spent on the losing end of 21 to 1 votes in the subcommittee I’m working in. All attempts to remove restrictive language around the expenditure of funds and to keep from adding fidelity and celibacy language to personnel policies were defeated in my subcommittee. We’ll have to wait now to see what the full committee does and then the plenary session.

The service tonight was an epiphany of sorts. I ask myself many times, why do I stay in the church when it often seems so futile and change such a distance hope. The Act of Repentance service called us to acknowledge the need for repentance for the church’s actions against indigenous people.

And there was Marcus Briggs-Cloud again. This time he was on the piano, playing and singing. I watched his passion for the music and I put it together. Marcus loves God and the church even though that same church participated in the oppression and denigration of his people. He is with us offering and blessing us with his gifts.

Marcus is no different from Amory and the other LGBTQ people I know that remain in the church. They witness to their love of God and church and are continually disappointed by the people of our church. And yet they continue to offer themselves.

I have suffered nothing by comparison.
I have not been wounded in the name of God.
I have not been excluded or denied.

I stay in this church because of their witness to the power of God’s love. Their hope that the future will be different…is my hope.

They are my inspiration, sharing their gifts, their stories and accepting me, often one who does not understand their pain. Their graciousness causes me to weep.

We keep moving on. The road is hard to see. More disappointment lies ahead, no doubt. But tomorrow will bring new opportunities.

Good night my friends,


Rev. Craig Parrish is the Conference Treasurer for the Pacific Northwest Conference and head of the PNW delegation to Tampa, Florida for General Conference 2012.

Image “Silk Road #8” Some rights reserved by Flickr user Jonathan Kos-Read.


  1. Thank you, Craig, for you comments. Your words speak poignantly of the needs to continue repenting – for the sins against indigenous peoples, and so many others. God have mercy.

  2. I feel like I’m stepping into the middle of an ongoing conversation, so forgive me if I’m interrupting. Is there something wrong with fidelity and celibacy? (Let me add, by way of disclaimer, that I fully support allowing LGBT people in the clergy.)

  3. Oh Craig. I share your tears and your sentiments of those who inspire by their courage and conviction. We all hang on for a more inclusive, more loving church.

  4. Thank you, Craig for your heartfelt witness. Sometimes the frustration doesn’t seem worth it, to remain a part of the UMC, but Godmis worth it and the people we come to love and respect are worth it. You are one of those blessings.

  5. It certainly sounds grueling there. We appreciate all the work you are doing for us. Glad to get your comments. I was reminded of 1 Samuel, chapters 16 abd 17 about David and his little ole sling shot. It took only one shot to make a difference. Your one vote is just as important even though it might feel frustrating. Who knows what target it might hit. Prayers are going your way for physcial strength, perseverance and grace with all that is negative there.

  6. I have seldom read a more inspiring response to the sometimes heart-crushing behavior of other christians. It is so easy for us to withdraw into our own pain at such times, rather than experiencing the witness of those who see the Lord’s way. Thank you so much for your willingness to see and share.

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