• You are Loved

    It was about 24 hours ago that I received news that my Quaker meeting, West Hills Friends, was "released" from our yearly meeting. Our meeting has affirmed same sex relationships, and has valued our LGBTQ Friends as full participants in the life of our community. Just recently we preformed a same sex marriage ceremony for two of our beloved members. 

    Our position on this was deemed "shattering" to our yearly meeting two years ago. After a two year process of bringing us back into compliance with the policies of our yearly meeting (which deems same sex relationships as sinful), the yearly meeting elders made the decision to let us go. 

    As a pastor at West Hills Friends this breaks my heart. Over my five years in the yearly meeting I formed some relationships (especially with fellow youth workers) that meant a lot to me. Yet, that is just a fraction of my heartbreak. 

    I am thinking about the young people in the Northwest Yearly Meeting who received the news yesterday. I am thinking of all the LGBTQ Friends who received the news yesterday. My heartbreak is with them. 

    PLEASE know that YOU ARE LOVED. Please know that regardless of this decision that West Hills Friends isn't going anywhere. Please know that we will continue to love you, to support you, to acknowledge the light of God in you. 

    If you feel rejected today, know that you have my acceptance. If you feel alone today, know that you have my companionship. If you feel angry, know that you can yell with me. If God feels distant, I will inahbit that place with you, and pray that God's presence will return. If you feel like you need to talk my phone number is (503) 313-9527 you can send me a facebook message, a text, or an e-mail (mark@westhillsfriends.org). 

    This isn't a time, at least for me, to respond to the actions of the yearly meeting. This is a time to love those who are hurting and most vulnerable. Let's be there for them. Let's make sure they never doubt that YOU ARE LOVED. 

    Mark Pratt-Russum 

    West Hills Friends Church