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On September 3rd at Volga Community Center was held a meeting with Jim Mulcahy, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church and a priest of Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The conversation was very deep and soulful. Jim shared with Samara LGBT his understanding of spirituality, the differences between spirituality and religiosity, and explained why the majority of people who call themselves atheists, in fact are not. And why so many who consider themselves believers, also have little reason to.
Jim believes that true faith is incompatible with hate speeches that sound from the mouth of not only ordinary parishioners, but of church officials too. The true servant of God would never reject a person confessed one's homosexuality, never forbid him/her to have communion, never expel him/her from the church community, never humiliate him/her during the service in front of other parishioners. This behavior of priests leads to that LGBT people (and not only them) are getting disappointed in them, in the church, & begin to deny the faith and spirituality. But the need for a spiritual connection lives in their hearts, like in the heart of every human being. If a person could not divide religion & spirituality, he/she may call him/herself an atheist. But he/she still needs this connection, he/she still needs the community.
Jim left the Catholic Church after years of being a priest. He could not stand its homophobic position. He served in hospice as chaplain for dying people & their relatives. It was hard work, but he loved it, he knew the significance of it, & he found himself in right place. But 25 years later he was diagnosed with cancer… "I realized that I must have church, community. I can't have cancer alone. I have to have community". He chose Metropolitan Community Church which accepted LGBT people & recognized their need in spiritual connection.
Jim's advise - choose your community. Choose those people around you that accept you just as you are. Because God made you the way you are and He loves you just the way you are. Choose and create a community around yourself. Those who are rejected by other communities have the opportunity to create their own. So do the LGBT believers around the world. So do the LGBT activists in Russia now. Community is the people being close to other people, in their relationship and unity. People being able to give and receive; being able to love.
Video with Jim Mulcahy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxD5JXFMvHc
Text by Lana Smirnova,
SPM LGBT Avers' Psychology Program Coordinator.