There are those of us
who have been exiled from the church
since the orange juice crusades of the late 1970s
Their slogan was “Save Our Children”
but it meant from persons like myself.
Two young women from small towns
were one day caught in the middle
of homophobic hysteria of a church
during Anita Bryant’s “Save the Children”
crusades of the nineteen seventies
Asked one to another,
“Should homosexuals be allowed in the church?”
and to that question the other replied
“Yes, certainly, and furthermore I just might be one
one who gave my childhood to the church
prepared for a vocation within it
only to have it turn its back on me”
Exiled from the churches of our youth
declared unworthy by our fellow man
We remain children of God
blessed in our hearts
with Divine Calling
Perhaps forever bearing the cross alone
while the chapel doors slam in our faces
Facing the streets of the city, anonymously
Alone, each of us, on our own
Wondering…is anyone else out there?
Is there a we, or is it just I?
Exiled from the land of the leaders
In the Temple of the Abiding Presence,
declared unworthy, a lesbian, a witch
who claims no membership to man’s church on earth,
assuming the alien position
the outsider receiving the prayers of the righteous family faithful
while perhaps not hated by them,
to become the convenient focus
for their own fears and unfinished business
The incarnation of the family secret
of their own genuine nuclear family shame.
Kate August is a former church organist.