Three years ago, I said “yes” to a British filmmaker who wanted to tell the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Presbyterians seeking a call or ordination within the PC(USA). In 2012, I said yes to sharing my my story of gender transition and of journeying towards ordination in the PC(USA) one year after Amendment 10A went into effect and the official barriers to ordination in the denomination had been removed. It was a moment in my own journey when I was just 3 months in to the medical part of my gender transition. My voice was starting to get deeper, and my face shape was changing a bit, but most people still saw me as female, including my Committee for the Preparation for Ministry. In this changed landscape following 10A I did not know how my CPM might receive the news of my transition, and I didn’t know how other openly LGBTQ candidates would be received by committees for the preparation for ministry, congregations seeking installed pastors, or by presbyteries certifying our call. All I knew is that sharing our stories, our calls and dedication to following Christ and staying within this denomination is a way to help the church see the gifts LGBTQ people bring to ministry.
In the three years since the documentary, Out of Order, began filming, our church and our culture have come a long way towards further legal recognitions of LGBTQ people and our families. However, I believe that we are at a very critical moment where we must translate polity change into the pews. For every LGBTQ person who has been called to serve a church in the PC(USA) in the past 3 years, there are many more who are still seeking a call or who have been told outright that their ministry might split the church.During my travels for More Light over the past year and a half, I have met folks from a vast number of churches that are hungry to put a face and a name to the issue of LGBTQ inclusion, they are eager to have conversations about what welcoming LGBTQ folks within the life and ministry of the congregation would look like, and are looking for a positive portrayal of LGBTQ people who want to serve the church. Many of these conversations have been happening in a one-on-one basis, but I believe Out of Order will offer the chance for that conversation to be much more widespread.
At long last, the filming for Out of Order is complete, and the journey to turn the footage into a film in the editing process begins. Just yesterday the crew released a trailer for Out of Order as part of their fundraising efforts to raise $21K in 21 days to be able to edit the film. Thus far all of the work on the film has been done pro-bono and out of the passion for telling these stories. However, the crew needs to raise funds to be able to edit the film, add color correction, sound mixing, and titles to submit the film to festivals and then debut the film to a wider audience in the spring of 2016. If you believe stories have the power to heal the church, then I invite you to watch the trailer (be on the look out for a cameo from my Mom and Dad!) and consider supporting the completion of this film in whatever way you can either through a financial gift or by sharing the trailer via your facebook or twitter. Click here to watch:igg.me/at/outoforder
Thank you for all the ways you have already shared story after story of why LGBTQ inclusion in the life of the church is vital to our mission as a body of Christ. My hope is that this film is one more way we can continue to shine more light into our communities!
Yours on the Journey,
Alex Patchin McNeill