I am awful at waiting. When I was 15 years old I discovered All Saints Pasadena. I discovered All Saints when reading about the 2009 General Convention — as most 15 year olds do. I remember running into my kitchen saying, “Mom! General Convention this summer is being held near Pasadena and that’s where All Saints is and I have to go!” Why did a 15 year old from Missouri want to go visit All Saints? I wanted to see people like me doing the type of work I wanted to be doing nearly a decade later.
I was waiting to meet someone who was like me. I knew there were lots of LGBTQ people at All Saints working for full inclusion for queer people in the Episcopal Church — one of the largest topics at the 2009 General Convention. I was tired of being told by priests and bishops in the Midwest that I needed to wait until the church was ready to move forward — at 15 years old I was tired of waiting.
When we talk about waiting during Lent I think of waiting for forward movement in the church. I think of all the waiting it took to give dioceses permission to allow churches to perform same sex weddings, I think of all the waiting it took to get churches to start talking about black lives matter like it was not a controversial topic. I think of the waiting that teens in the Midwest are still doing — the conversations about All Gender Bathrooms. Many churches forget that Jesus was, is, and will be the savior of those who needs to be liberated — liberation from police brutality, from queer discrimination, from the racist systems, the gender binary, gun violence, violence against women — especially trans women, and liberation from a culture that teaches children how to hide in a school lock down but how not to give consent.
We all are looking for liberation from something. The good news is that in a few weeks we will be reminded of the resurrection that happened to challenge and change every system. The good news is that a person of color born into poverty went on to overthrow the oppressive systems of government before the age of 35. This is the good news that awaits us at Easter in a few weeks.
Kelly Phelan is the Children’s Minister at All Saints Church in Pasadena.