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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.

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

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.

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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

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Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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