The River is a group of LGBTQIA+ individuals and friends at First United Methodist Church in San Diego and Water's Edge Faith Community in Ocean Beach.
Our vision is multi-faceted, but our focus is to do the work of the church following the teachings of Jesus, grow in our faith and support one another unconditionally.
First Church is a reconciling Methodist Church which means we welcome and embrace LGBTQIA+ clergy. We also perform same-sex marriages, and no one is refused a place at our Communion Table. Our doors are open to everyone – no one is excluded.
We are a small, but welcoming group. We invited our congregation to walk with us in the San Diego Pride Parade, and they showed up with love, compassion and open hearts. The experience drew us closer as a church and as friends.
If you’re looking for a place to find love, compassion, acceptance and a safe place to grow in your faith, please come visit us on Sunday morning at 9 and 11 AM in Mission Valley (2111 Camino del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108) or 10 AM at the Water’s Edge Church in Ocean Beach (1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107).
If you would like more information or want someone to talk to please contact "the River" here
Celebrate Pride Month with First Church
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, MARCH 19, 2023
BY TRUDY ROBINSON, lead pastor at the First United Methodist Church of San Diego.
Opinion: On questions of gender and sexuality in the Christian faith, love is the answer
Things would be so much easier if only there was just one way to understand the Bible. Or Jesus. Or faith. Or life. If only it were my way!
That’s what the disciples really meant when they told Jesus that they had seen someone who was not following them healing in Jesus’ name. He wasn’t doing it our way! But Jesus responded, “Don’t stop him. Whoever isn’t against us is for us.”
Jesus just wants people to be healed. He doesn’t care who does it. If only there were just one way to understand who needs healing. Is it those who identify as LGBTQ or is it those who think LGBTQ people need intense therapy of one kind or another?
The person healing others was using Jesus’ name. Can there be a wrong way to use Jesus’ name when trying to bring people wholeness? Well, yes. If the process of bringing wholeness diminishes another human being. Yes, if the healing causes greater harm. Yes, more fundamentally, if the means of healing contradict Jesus. Now we’re back to wishing there was only one way to understand Jesus.
The questions of faith are plentiful, and many would profess to have the answers. Be leery of them, for if they have the answers, the implication is that there is only one way to understand things, and they should be suspect if the one way just so happens to be their way.
Jesus lived at a time where there were many diverse opinions on faith. The Sadducees had their thoughts. As did the Pharisees, Essenes and the Zealots, each arguing about how to understand Judaism. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were many different gospels written, and four gospels made it into the official canon of Christianity. Not one. Four opinions on how to shape the story and message of Jesus.
One thousand years later, the Great Schism split the church over differences in how to understand the faith. Five hundred years after that, the church shattered during the Protestant Reformation because there were so many ways to understand the faith. There has never been one understanding of faith.
Disagreements create wars, which cause casualties. That is hard to reconcile with Jesus who summed up all the commandments into two: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
Today, we disagree about how to understand, and therefore treat, people who identify as LGBTQ. The casualties include families who want to go to their local YMCA. The YMCA wants to provide services to these families in the spirit of hospitality and love, and I might add, in the name of Jesus, “Don’t stop them.”
My understanding of transgender people comes from science. Sexual anatomy and gender identity are determined by different processes, at distinctly different times, along different neural pathways, before birth. Dozens of biological events can cause an incongruence between the two. But we all know that there is not only one way to understand science. Often, we look back at antiquated science and wonder how we could have believed it. Often, we are skeptical with the science of today. We do like our opinions, though, and this is where I stand. I could be wrong. So could you.
Jesus didn’t ask us to be right. He asked us to love. Ultimately, I choose to listen to the stories of the young people who, from a very early age, felt their body was the wrong body, and the parents who were shocked, confused, worried, but most of all, loving. I would say, they were not “against Jesus,” as they loved. Neither am I.
Christians are doing what it seems we have a history of doing, professing opinions and causing casualties, not just for the those directly involved, but those who witness the followers of Jesus abandon the one commandment Jesus gave us: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
We are approaching Good Friday when Jesus was nailed to the cross. It would serve us well to remember that Jesus did not fight the soldiers who came to the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus did not argue his case to Pilate. Jesus did not use his last breath to explain how to understand all of it. His words from the cross were of forgiveness and care and grace. It seems Jesus believed there is just one way.
It is not to have opinions. It is to love.
Testimonial: What is it like to be a Christian and Gay?
Maybe you recognize yourself in Barbara's story?