My journey to GCN was a classic one. I liked a boy, and I wanted to figure out if he liked me back. He didn’t! But, as usual, God had a plan for me regardless.
It was January 2014 in Chicago, and I had made the choice to attend the GCN Conference only days earlier. The post-holiday lull left me wanting affection, and feeling bored with the Washington, DC dating scene, I thought that I would strike out in another dating pool. Obviously, GCN is not the right place to go looking for hookups, but don’t the best stories begin in unexpected ways?
The Annual Conference is a wonderful and overwhelming experience, but although I was touched to see so many LGBTQIA brothers and sisters gathered together, I arrived with a huge chip on my shoulder. As a DC queer, I had phenomenal access and choice to a variety of safe places, churches, and outlets to fill my needs for community and Christ-like acceptance. The idea of attending a conference geared toward such acceptance felt backwards to me. I was so wrong!
I remember sitting in worship and weeping—moved by the raw sense of connection and honest expressions of faith that I encountered. It was worship as I imagine it will be in Heaven—devoted, real, and bursting with love. We existed, God knew us in our souls, and I BELONGED!
Honestly, I had not felt that close of God in quite some time. It was miraculous. At the closing service, surrounded by new friends and family, I suddenly felt a rush that I can only describe as the Holy Spirit bursting into my heart, embracing my soul. I knew instantly that I was being called to vocational ministry. Upon returning to Washington, my life turned upside down, as God revealed a new path for me. I would become a pastor.
GCN has been there through so many twists and turns along my path to ministry. It has allowed me to find a deeper, better way of relating to God. It has provided me both a place to rest, and challenged me to explore community in new and exciting ways. I can honestly say that without GCN, I would be lost.
Your financial support is vital to keeping GCN moving into a vibrant future. There has never been a more important moment in our history, as the Church and LGBTQIA Christians face violence, hatred, and discrimination all over the world. GCN stands as a metaphorical estuary – a place where so many who are so different from one another can come together—a place where we seek the redeeming truth of Jesus Christ.
We cannot do this work without you. We need your presence, and, yes, we need your financial support. We exist to see your family, friends, and you flourish into the best possible version of community. Know that you belong and you are loved.