Sayville Congregational Church on Middle Road in Sayville is not so fondly called “The Gay Church” by Sayville residents and store owners. As a “straight” mother of two and grandmother of three, I take exception to this label. I chose this church about four years ago after attending various other protestant denominational churches for the last 55 years.
Yes, the person who shared his enthusiasm for the love and acceptance at this church was gay, but the majority of members were not gay, but I wasn’t really counting.
The first time I went to a service that offered communion I was shocked and pleased to find that all were welcomed at the Lord’s table just as all had been accepted during Jesus ministry and teaching. The church covenant frequently spoken or sung during a Sunday service says,” In response to God’s love, we covenant with each other to be faithful to the demands and inspiration of the eternal spirit, revealed in the event of Jesus Christ; to accept and respect each other with love and concern in our worship and witness, to reach out with the courage and convictions in the cause of justice, liberation and equality for all. In this we covenant to keep the ultimate promise: I care, I am with you.
The bold and underline are mine. Yes some of our members are gay, but they are also black, white, hispanic, fat, skinny, handsome, pretty, ugly, old, young, sick, healthy, straight, wealthy, poor etc. just like the people that make up America. Just like the local school or business. Are they labeled the gay school because some staff and students are gay, is it the gay business because it is owned or staffed by a gay person? Is it the fat store because the owner is overweight? Or the bald one? You get the point.
Before people label us, they should step inside the doors and try a service or two. They might be pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere of love and acceptance of ALL people not just the gay ones. They might be surprised to learn that our denomination welcomed female ministers in 1853, that we help support a mission school in El Hogar in South America, that we help support the Inn, which we started, now a multi church cooperative effort, that our church founded the Pre School 45 years ago, that we have led and organized the annual Crop Walk, that we support Missionaries in various parts of the world. Not just gender issues, but social justice issues. They might decide to stay, despite the inaccurate label. I did, because we are not a gay church, we are an AMERICAN church, made up of all kinds of people who are fighting for the cause of equality, “liberty and justice for all”. Sound familiar?