Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Minister's Heterosexuality Causes Uproar

The Rev. Jane Goodallson decided she had to tell the truth. Now, from the looks of it, she will have to find a new career. Last week, Goodallson, who is the pastor of New Wine Church in Seattle, told her congregation she is not a lesbian. The problem is that her church is a part of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, who believe homosexuality is built into the fabric of Creation by God and is not a sin.

There were audible gasps in the sanctuary when Goodallson, who had been with partner Julie Borg for the last 15 years, told her congregation she had been hiding her heterosexuality since high school. "My lesbian relationship was just a smokescreen," she told her parishioners. "As long as I put up a good front, I could pretend. For a long time, I even fooled myself. Now I can finally be honest with myself, with God and with you."

Goodallson felt she had to come out of the closet when it appeared that her romantic relationship with a man would become public. She decided to take the initiative and tell the congregation before the rumor mill began. The man’s identity is being kept hidden because he is a New Wine parishioner who came to Goodallson for counseling with his own life partner.

In her sermon, Goodallson gave no indication she intended to step down. Congregation leaders, however, were soon calling for her resignation. "This sort of thing just doesn’t happen here," said one church member who asked to remain anonymous. "What are we going to tell our children? Will we have to tell them there might be straight people running around the church?"

Adding to the damage is the unconfirmed report that Goodallson and her male lover never did drugs together. Nor, in fact, does it appear that they ever had sex. These additional charges will likely make Goodallson unemployable in other Metropolitan Community Churches, even if they do not prove to be true.

The church council is scheduled to vote on Goodallson’s continued employment in a meeting tomorrow night. But even if she goes, Goodallson is satisfied she did the right thing. "I could no longer live a lie. I ran from the truth for too long," she said.


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