Just for a little “Lee Religion History,” I was born and baptized a Catholic. My Mom got a divorce and was excommunicated when she remarried. Years later, my step-dad took us kids to a Presbyterian Church. A friend invited me to a new start-up church and I went with her and was impressed. It was a Grace Brethren Church where I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I invited my family and we all became members. I started at Grace College, then to Bethel College where I received my BA in Biblical Literature and Psychology.
When the puzzle pieces finally fell together, the realization came that I was gay, so did the exclusion of most churches. When I worked up the courage to tell my husband, he outed me to all, including my minister. At that time, I was involved in a mainline church that was not affirming. I never went back, knowing I would not be welcome there.
I did try a few others, but Christ was not the center in any of them. I felt lost.
Two years ago, I rode to ride my motorcycle from Chicago to my new home in Peoria, AZ. While riding along on a lonely road, I saw an interesting clump of tar. Before I knew it, I was in it. I was not an experienced enough rider to get out of it. My Guardian Angel picked up me and my bike, and set us back on our journey. I immediately thanked God and said I would go to church on my first Sunday in Arizona. I did, but it wasn’t the right fit.
One sunny day, as I was driving down Happy Valley Road, I saw a big banner in front of a church—very near my house—that said “an Open & Affirming Congregation.” Bingo. I was there the next Sunday morning. The church people were friendly to this lone woman sitting in the back, close to the door. I remember one Sunday tears started running down my cheeks. I was home, I was found.