Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thank God For Email

From me to the preacher at my mom's childhood church:
Hi Pastor,

I'm searching for a new church home and am considering trying Immanuel. A little about myself. I am Lutheran but my mother grew up in your church and my great-grandfather was pastor there a long time ago. I've visited your church several times in the past.

The real issue:
I am a 39 year old single woman who is pregnant by IVF. I've recently had a horrible experience with my Lutheran pastor in which he stated that what I'd done was a mortal sin and that my soul was in danger. Also, that I should have more humility and repent so that I could better cling to the cross. There was no kindness or sympathy in his delivery. I explained to him that I didn't feel that I'd done anything wrong and that I'd never felt closer to God than while on my journey to become pregnant. I feel I have no choice but to find another church home.

I would like to know your church's views of IVF and single pregnancy before trying out your church in earnest.
Thank you for your time,


From Pastor Jackie to me:
Hi Paige – the United Methodist Social Principles are very vague on many controversial issues because the Father of Methodism, John Wesley had an understanding that finding the presence and creativity of the Holy Spirit in one’s life is much more important than any one issue. The church folks here at Immanuel UMC are fairly open to new ideas and I, as the serving Pastor encourage the spirit of open minds and open hearts. Personally, I feel that we are all in need of the grace of God, and as we admit that, we receive God’s abundant love and peace to live full and courageous lives to embrace new ideas. I have a hard time feeling that I have the right to judge anyone to damnation! I am trying to understand who your mother might be, and what your Great grandfather’s name was.

Try us out – you are certainly most welcome to join us in our faith journey to find God’s will for our lives each and everyday. We have early morning praise service at 9 am and traditional at 10 am. November 21st we have only one service at 10 am. This will be our Blessing Sunday in which we will recognize the ways God has blessed our journey!
Pastor Jackie

I haven't cried through out this whole ordeal. I've been angry and hurt and certainly gotten choked up about it especially when I talked out loud about it. When I got this kind email from the pastor though, I cried and cried.

From Pastor Jackie to me after I'd explained who my family is:
Oh yes, those names do sound familiar. Immanuel celebrated 150 years last year. And I remember hearing stories of D.C. Williams – Good Ones!!! Please feel invited to Immanuel anytime—all the time! Pastor Jackie

From my mother after I'd forwarded Pastor Jackie's first email:
Thank you for sending this to me. I've been very upset by this experience for you. I know you won't let this person's terrible words shake your faith. This is a wonderful & beautiful thing you are doing. How can he say such things about bringing new life into this world? I hope Pastor Jackie's words brought you some comfort. If you'd like to go to Immanuel, I'll go with you. It's funny that she should use the word "courageous", I've said that many times when talking about your journey. I hope you understand how very proud of you I am. Everything that person said is absolutely wrong, worse that wrong, dangerous. It will take some time for you to dispel the negativity this had caused, but for both your physical & mental well-being, I hope you can do it quickly. You must know how well loved you are by your family, friends and God, as is your child. Hope you feel better. Talk to you tomorrow.

God, Thank you for email. Amen


  1. oh Paige, that all brought tears to my eyes. It sounds like you not only found a new spiritual home but that your family will get even closer as a consequence. The evil pastor is doing god's work, but in the opposite way he was intended to do it.

  2. I'm so glad that you found a new church which has an "open heart" and that your family has pulled together to support you as well.

  3. This is so great Paige! I am really liking Pastor Jackie's words and the warm and welcoming tone of her email. I can't wait to hear what you think about Immanuel, and your mom's sweet email made me tear up. We're all proud of your courage!

  4. Sounds great and Pastor Jackie sounds pretty fabulous.

  5. You've got me teared up too... Pastor Jackie's words bring a feeling of peace to me, I can only imagine what they mean to you! And your mom's wonderful words on top of that... how wonderful! Blessing Sunday sounds like a wonderful first time to try!!!

  6. I am so so so happy that you have found this church. I hope that the email is indicative of what is to come and that you have found a wonderful new church family!

  7. My G-d is a loving G-d, not a punishing, damning one. I know in my heart that your pregnancy is full of G-d's grace, or it wouldn't have happened! I hope this new church turns out to be the home you're looking for. <3

  8. I'm so glad you found such a welcoming church to try. This Pastor sounds more like what I think God would say.

  9. Wow Paige, I am so happy. I got choked up reading that, for many reasons, bt mostly for the love and acceptance from all angles. God is good and yes, thank Him for email!

  10. I'm so relieved for you. It's heartwarming to know that not all 'people of the cloth' are assholes.

  11. Wiping away tears and blowing my nose. Sorry I haven't commented lately. Soooooo behind in my blog reading. Yes, you are courageous! IF is difficult to deal with as part of a couple, but riding this rollercoaster as an SMC is a formidable task. We. Did. It. :-)

    And YAY for your mom, too!

  12. Oh I am so glad that you found a church that will welcome you with open arms! God would never turn away anyone and it is just a shame that a church did pretty much that.

  13. I heart your mom. And Pastor Jackie. It sounds like you have found your new church family ~ so happy for you!!

  14. So happy to hear this pastor's response! And good for you for e-mailing him!

  15. And this is why, even as an atheist, I identify as as a Methodist! Go UMC!

  16. I'm also Lutheran, but really am looking forward to talking to both pastors once I take the big step. Now if it had been one of the pastors from before, he most likely would have given me the same issue as you were (he refused to baptize a baby because the parents weren't married, although they had a wedding planned for later). Needless to say there was a big scuttle for the ways he handled things and was basically forced out. He started his own church, and believe me I'm glad.
    Hopefully you'll find a new church to call home and feel at home and loved in, as well as sweetpea!