For the Record – Reconciling Gender and Orientation with the Christian Faith

Ali Pitargue – May 13, 2019

Blair Odney, Lead Minister at the Lynn Valley Church

There is pervasive dialogue that concerns religious and LGBTQ2SIA+ communities being at odds with each other. If someone is both religious and identifying as a marginalized gender and/or identity, reconciling faith and being can be hard to tread.

However, plenty of religious communities provide support and resources to those oppressed by homophobia, including the United Church of Canada—the country’s largest protestant denomination. In 1988, they announced a decision to allow LGBTQ2SIA+ people to be ordained as ministers.

Since then, many communities under the United Church have become affirming—being inclusive of people of all sexual and gender identities.

Lynn Valley Church minister Blair Odney says he is encouraging LGBTQ2SIA+ people to live in the fullness of who they are, because he says it is a blessing.

Jesus said to his followers, I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, and that abundant life is living the fullness of who you’ve been created to be. It shows up in what your natural inclinations are.

Odney is an openly-gay man who recently became President-Elect of the Regional Pacific Council of the United Church. He says that in his congregation, he encourages the affirming practice every Sunday. He says he is much more interested in pro-compassion than anti-bullying.

“I Look To You” cover by Blair Odney

Blair sings “I Look to You” at the Lynn Valley United Church, October 29th, 2017

Every Sunday, once we’ve sung our opening songs. I welcome people. I say to them, ‘We are in the Squamish lands of the Tsleil-Waututh  and Musqueam nations. Then I say, some of us came with great stories of joy, some come with unspeakable grief. Some of us come with masks in the world in order to be safe, some us come with varying sexualities, sexual expressions and identities. I say, whoever you are, wherever you are at your journey. Whatever mask you wear, there is a place for you.

Blair OdneyMinister at the Lynn Valley United Church

Listen to the full interview with Blair Odney here: