If you are an active Christian in an evangelical church, a graduate of a major American evangelical college, and gay, where would go to tell other students and graduates of your school that it is possible to be both gay and Christian?
Alumni of Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, met at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in nearby Glen Ellyn, listened to music by Christian singer Jennifer Knapp and had a discussion about what it means to be both gay and Christian.
Triblocal.com has the story:
The pews of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn’s downtown were mostly full as four openly gay alumni answered questions from the audience and shared personal testimony about what it was like to struggle with questions about self-identity at a college where students sign a covenant that condemns homosexual behavior.
“If you identify as GLBT and Christian, you do not have to choose,” said Ruth Wardschenk, an ’89 alumna who brought her daughter and partner to the event and sat on the panel. “You can have a partner or a spouse, you can have a family, you can have a church community.”
Audience members, who ranged in age, laughed and applauded at various times during the hour-long discussion as they anonymously texted in questions to the panel, asking tough questions like how friends of gay people can help make a “coming out” process smooth and whether any of the alums had undergone therapy in an attempt to change their orientation. But they also asked more lighthearted inquiries, like what it was like to kiss someone of the same sex for the first time….
…Jose Vilanova, a 1989 Wheaton College graduate who helped organize OneWheaton and now lives in Miami, said coming back to the campus as an openly gay man with a group of supporters was a “healing” experience.
“So many of us all over the country that share a very similar narrative have struggled with the same emotions and thoughts,” Vilanova said, calling the gathering an “extraordinarily beautiful experience.”
Kendall Park, a current Wheaton College student, said she attended the discussion because she has many gay friends and equality issues are “near and dear to my heart.”
While she would’ve have liked to see more of her classmates attend the talk, Park said overall the campus community is “really very sensitive toward this issue.”