The first time I attended worship here, it was a joint service with all three congregations. I found Rev. Rebecca and sat next to her. As prayers were said, she whispered gender neutral or feminine pronouns, subverting the patriarchy just loud enough for me to hear. I knew I had found my church home.

I have been attending worship with Lyndale for over 3 years. At first, quietly sitting in the back and slipping out quickly, like most newcomers. Now I get here early, weep as quietly as possible through most services, and linger for extra hugs when I can.

I weep because Lyndale is a space of healing that I desperately need. I weep for all the weeks I didn’t have this sacred community to weep with. I weep because this is the place I put down my armor and allow my tender heart to be touched. I weep because the weight of walking in armor as a queer woman is heavy and I didn’t realize it until I set it down. I weep for all the hugs that have held me in this space. Sometimes there is near and present grief or pain that makes my tears flow while we pray, sit silently, sing, dance, listen, and hear a call for justice. But most of the time I am just so ready to let go of all that I hold, it come pouring out in tears.

I love having a place to be joyful and to weep. Having a place to weep makes it possible to show up and fight another day for the justice and love I believe if possible. I love that I see my pastors at every protest, reminding me what faith looks like in action. I could write another letter just on the radical acts of faith that keep me coming back, but Ashely will have to ask for that next year.

I am a freelance photographer and founder of Telling Queer History, which means my income varies greatly from week to week. But this community gives to me in so many ways, I know I can give of myself in multiple ways too. When I have cash in my wallet, I put it the offering. I also love inviting new people to attend with me, to give them the gift of being welcomed into my beloved community. I give of my time and talents which feels often like receiving.

I am on the Thrive Committee, the fierce group of women fundraising and coordinating the Great Gatherings. Each month I have the blessing of meeting with Lori, Mary, Karn, and Ashley to plan our fundraising, connect with each other and laugh. This giving of my time and fundraising experience feels (mostly) like receiving, not only from being with these wise women but because it connects me deeper to and fuels Lyndale, which keeps me alive. I am also given the gift of grace and saying no, I can’t give more at this time. And I am always loved just the same.  

So please take a moment to think of the ways you have been held by this community, the gifts you have received by the sacred space it creates with your help each week. May that multiply unendingly. May you give in a way that feels like receiving.