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Her congregation expected a normal sermon on Sunday. But they got something even better.

Coming out isn't easy, especially when you're a pastor in the Methodist Church.

When members of the Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, filed into their pews on Jan. 3, 2016, they had no idea they were about to hear their pastor give the most controversial sermon of her life.

For 25 years, the Reverend Cynthia Meyer had held a secret she was finally ready to share: She’s gay.

“I’ve been growing in my understandings and thinking and praying about all this for some time,” Meyer told Upworthy. “I’ve really felt led by the Holy Spirit and inspired to take a pretty bold step to be open about who I am in my identity and my relationship.”


Meyer's sermon was incredibly brave. After remaining silent for such a long time, she finally spoke her truth:

GIFs via Reconciling Ministries Network/YouTube.

Many LGBTQ folks know the difficulty of coming out in a non-affirming denomination, but few know whats it's like to do this as clergy and at the pulpit.

As with many traditional Christian denominations, the United Methodist Church (UMC) believes that homosexuality is “incompatible” with Christian design. In theory, the UMC welcomes LGBTQ members as participants of the church, but with restrictions. Clergy can’t perform same-sex marriages, same-sex weddings can’t be hosted in a UMC church, and pastors definitely can’t identify as LGBTQ themselves.

When Meyer stood in front of her congregation and came out, she was risking her career.

There are over 32,000 active United Methodist churches in the United States. While Meyer certainly isn’t the first to clergy to come out, as UMC clergy have been coming out for decades, she could be in a particularly precarious situation.

The risk of repercussions for her announcement could be quite high. She’ll have to go through a church trial, and she could lose her credentials completely.

Photo via Reconciling Ministries Network, used with permission.

But Meyer believes that "it’s time" for the United Methodist Church to change its anti-LGBTQ policies, which is why she came out at the pulpit specifically.

She worked with a campaign called "It’s Time," organized by Reconciling Ministries Network, an LGBTQ organization working for change in the United Methodist Church.

“It’s soul-crushing to speak to my congregation each week about God’s love for them as they are, while being unable to speak of my own God-given identity, my loving relationship, and much of my day-to-day life,” she said. “I do this not only for myself, but for my partner, for my daughter, for all those who are excluded, and for the good of the church.”

Thankfully, the response from her parishioners has been overwhelmingly positive, Meyer says.

“I’ve been a leader in the United Methodist Church for the past 25 years, but coming out to my congregation in January was the first time I have been able to publicly present my authentic self,” Meyer said. “I am overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support from many of you as I declare my truth to the world.”

Photo via Reconciling Ministries Network, used with permission.

Sharing her truth may have been the best gift Meyer could have given to her church. After coming out, she says she’s heard from seminary students, clergy, and other parishioners across the country who also participate in the church while in the closet.

Sometimes all it takes is one brave person standing up and announcing their truth to give others the strength to do the same.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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