Profile Remembrances

Rev. Sylvia Pennington

As Remembered by Bill Garnett

In 1986 I was in the eighth year of a hiatus I had taken during which I did not affiliate with any organized church body. I met a pastor who just moved to Kansas City, Missouri, to start a new church for the gay community that would be apart from the MCC "franchise." To kick the church off, Pastor Allen had an ordination ceremony at which Rev. Sylvia presided. I can still remember her sermon, which used the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son for its basis; I felt like Rev. Pennington was preaching that sermon specifically for me. After the ceremony I talked with Rev. Pennington for twenty/thirty minutes. At the end of our discussion, Rev. Sylvia took a copy of But Lord They're Gay and Good News for Modern Gays, wrote a dedication to me in each and signed each. I promptly read both books and when her third book came out, I got it and read it also. Because of Rev. Pennington I got back active, first with this new church, a liberal RLDS community church, and finally a local Episcopalian church, all as an openly gay man. As of a year and a half ago, I joined a Church of Christ/Disciples of Church church. As a result of my meeting with Rev. Pennington, my church and spiritual life has grown and my involvement has also increased. She really turned my life around and I will be forever grateful to her.

February 7, 2012