The Psalmist praises God saying “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Indeed, each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Each of us has our own unique story of how God has worked in the past and continues to be at work in our lives. Our stories are testimonies to the transformational power of God’s grace.

If you feel called to share your story as a part of this project, please email it to stories@roomforall.com.

Kevin Muur

I’m not really sure where I should start this story, but in light of the tragic shootings in Orlando, I can no longer be silent. Just like Popeye before he would eat his spinach, I say, “It’s all I can stands cuz I can’t stands no more!”

All of my life I have lived in FEAR…fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of being outed.  I grew up in a small rural village in Northwest Illinois. My parents farmed so I was very isolated as a kid until I went to school. I went to a consolidated school system for the community with grades K-12 all in one building with a gymnasium separating the grade school and junior high rooms from the high school. This also meant that I went to school with many of the same people for all 12 years of my elementary and secondary education.

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Kevin Muur

Kate Mears

“To have meaning, our lives require both passion and purpose. A life without passion is like a furnace without fuel, and without purpose, like a ship without a rudder.” Dr. Mardy Grothe is very right when he made this quote. Life without purpose isn’t life. It can’t go anywhere or do anything. Without purpose, we can’t do what we are made to do. We are stalled because we don’t have our rudder.

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Kate Mears

Rev. Donald J. Bruggink

I suspect that those who don’t love gays and lesbians really don’t know the lesbians and gays they know. Or, put another way, they don’t know that some of the nice people they know really are. I didn’t, now I do.

In Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, where I grew up, we did not have gays and lesbians. Of course there were those nice people, members of the community and church, of whom it was occasionally said “Isn’t it too bad that ________ has never found the right girl. He’s such a nice young man.” In fact, the subject of gays and lesbians never entered my consciousness until a comic at the Riverside (vaudeville) Theater in Milwaukee cracked a joke I didn’t understand. (more…)

Rev. Donald J. Bruggink

A Father’s Story

I have wanted to express my gratitude for the RFA conference last October in Grand Rapids. It will be three years this month since [our daughter] came out to us, and in those three years I have ended up with a conscience before God that is both open and affirming. This has been an inversion of my previous state and my experience at the RFA conference played a very large role in that inversion. (more…)

A Father’s Story

Bob Mitchell

During the 30-some years that I sang at the Hebrew Tabernacle Synagogue in New York City, organists came and went.

Gerald Morton was one such organist who, incidentally, happened to love opera.

To those of you who were not part of the New York City church music scene of the 60s, 70s and 80s, the fact that Gerry happened to like opera might strike you as a particularly unremarkable remark. (more…)

Bob Mitchell

Karel Boersma

It was September 1971, I was in my second year at Seminary and I was called home. My brother Jack was dead. He was not a casualty of Vietnam. He left this world as he lived with high drama amid tragic circumstances. His world was the Mecca of homosexual society, Greenwich Village before Stonewall. His neighbors were rich and famous and he would have it no other way. (more…)

Karel Boersma

Rev. Richard Tiggelaar

We all know the story we call “The Good Samaritan.” A man is assaulted on his way to Jericho. Two religious leaders leave him for dead on the side of the road but a Samaritan stops, bandages his wounds and takes him to town where he can recover from his injuries.

I can’t help but wonder what our wounded man thought about Samaritans after this happened. Did he treat them the way he always had? Or did he now see this man as his neighbor? (more…)

Rev. Richard Tiggelaar

Betty Hill

When our youngest son Tom was home from college at the end of his sophomore year he came to me one evening and said he had something to tell us. Dan, my husband, and I had sensed that all was not well during the previous year, even though he was doing well in school and we had our weekly phone calls between visits home. I had even asked his older brother if he had noticed that Tom seemed troubled. Dean affirmed that Tom had confided in him, and not to worry – he would be talking with us soon. (more…)

Betty Hill

H. Kramer-Mills

Baptist pastor Oliver “Buzz” Thomas wrote during the winter of 2006/07 in USA TODAY on gay and lesbian issues: “It’s happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo’s challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true. For many, especially in the scientific community, Christianity never recovered.” (more…)

H. Kramer-Mills

Kyle Pogemiller

After attending a Room for All “Building an Inclusive Church” weekend hosted by my church (the Reformed Church of New Paltz), I was inspired, along with several of our other church members, to share our reasons why we believe Room for All is so important. As part of this training, we were encouraged to map out and tell our stories. The next day in church we shared our stories from the pulpit as part of our sermon. This is my story: (more…)

Kyle Pogemiller

“…and Not this World”

Upon learning about Room for All for the first time, the writer of this account contacted us to express gratitude for our ministry. She said it had moved her to write about her experience as a lesbian student several years ago at an RCA college (“It came pouring out!”), and she wondered if her story might be helpful to anyone else. (more…)

“…and Not this World”

Susan Cissel

The story of my journey toward accepting LGBT people is really quite short and boring. I never really thought about homosexuality much going up. My friends and I often used the word “queer” as a put down toward classmates, but thinking back it was just a general term referring to anyone who offended us in any way. (more…)

Susan Cissel

Cyndie Odya-Weis

“To remain silent about oppression is to further the hate. It’s as bad as doing the killing yourself.” Alex Odya-Weis, age 14.

“Mom, what’s hypocrisy? I know we discussed it in class, but I just want to be sure,” my 14 year-old son asked before he started his English assignment.

“It’s when your behavior does not match with your beliefs. If you say you believe one thing and act another way, that’s hypocrisy,” I answered.

“Oh, like our church,” he responded, referring to the RCA church where we had been members for 13 years. (more…)

Cyndie Odya-Weis

Earl A. Laman

The “Room for All” focus gave emotional impact to this day for me. In 1958, on this very January weekend, a phone call revealed my younger brother had ended his life in the darkness of that early Sunday morning. He was 19. He was gay, unknown to me then. (more…)

Earl A. Laman

Lee VanderKerk

As I look over my life, I have always felt different than other boys. I always felt that my interests were more “feminine”: music, arts, museums, antiques, even doll collecting. My mother tells me that she could send me out to play in white and I came back clean! I think she always feared that I was “one of them” and that message came out loud and clear. The other message was that good Christian folk were not like that. (more…)

Lee VanderKerk

Judy Parr

In the 1950s and ’60s I grew up in a Reformed Church in a small town in Southwest Michigan. The sermons in church assumed a literalistic interpretation of the Bible and leaned more heavily on reinforcing obedience than on embracing others in unconditional love. Sex roles were and still are rigidly enforced. Women in that congregation have never been elected elders or deacons (more…)

Judy Parr

Letter from a Gay Christian

August 3, 2012

I am a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home, my father was a pastor. I was taught to love the Lord and to serve Him. This I have done all my life. My relationship with God has never been stronger and I am more thankful than ever for the redemption that I have through Jesus Christ and His work of redemption on my behalf on the cross. I know what repentance is and I know what forgiveness is. (more…)

Letter from a Gay Christian

Ann Carda

My desire to belong in the Reformed tradition was so strong and I thought if I changed my mind about this, I would lose that part of myself. This was the tradition that raised me, that gave me the gift of faith and my love of God, and that made me who I am. My need to belong was stronger than my desire to embrace the truth that God was revealing to me. (more…)

Ann Carda