A Bowmanville, Ont. woman who was removed as a member of her Baptist church because she is in a same-sex relationship has been invited to attend a nearby United Church, according to Global News.
On Sunday, Kimberley Mills will join Westminster United in Whitby, she told the site. Minister Michelle Robinson said she’s welcome “as she is.”
Mills had attended Calvary Baptist Church in Oshawa for more than three years, volunteered and worked as a youth leader before church leadership told her in a letter that she was no longer welcome, she told City News.
She has been with her partner for over three years, she said, and is a firm believer and has a personal relationship with Jesus.
“I felt hurt that I was being judged for being gay,” she said.
Earlier this week, Mills received a letter from the church, signed by Deacon Chairman Tim Wagner, stating that she had been removed from the membership and citing church policy and the Bible.
“It was brought to our attention that you have chosen to live in disobedience to the scriptures, specifically disregarding the warning of 1 Corinthians 6:9, in spite of repeated efforts by other believers in your life,” the letter read.
Letter sent to Kimberley Mills by on Scribd
“Kim, we are exercising our responsibilities to follow the biblical instructions toward the goal of your repentance and full restoration to your walk with Christ and his church fellowship … Please know that this was not entered into lightly and we pray for your full restoration.”
Mills told CBC’s Here and Now that she’s been told she can still attend services, but can no longer be a youth leader and serve others in the church community.
“I feel like that’s what the church is—we’re supposed to be a family, we’re supposed to be intertwined in each others’ lives and help and love and support.”
Calvary Baptist Church has yet to comment on the specifics of the case, telling Global News on Wednesday in a statement that membership matters are “private and personal.”
“We love and care for everyone since we are made in the image of God,” the statement read. “Our membership, however, is a voluntary association of like-minded individuals who share a commitment to the teachings of the Bible.”
Mills told “Here and Now” that because of the church’s stance on homosexuality, she was nervous to reveal that she was in a relationship with a woman.
She made the decision to start coming out in the last six months, she said, because she wanted to be true to who she is and believes God loves her that way.
She’s received support from many people, she said, and the ordeal hasn’t shaken her faith—she feels even stronger about her beliefs.