Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Theology (MTh)

Department

Theology

Faculty/School

Seminary

First Advisor

Marsha Cutting

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor

Abstract

The researcher conducted a study between September 2005 and March 2006 that explored the disclosure experiences of church-affiliated relatives of lesbians and gays in their mainline church communities. The researcher believed that findings would potentially contribute to the provision of pastoral care in church communities that would improve the life experiences of those family members whose relatives are lesbian or gay. The study used a combined qualitative and quantitative approach. Interviews took place with 16 family members to discover their disclosure experiences, and an additional 54 family members completed a 30-item questionnaire that sought additional information about disclosure experienced. The central theme that emerged is called “Quest for Balm in Gilead” with four identified processes: “Wakefulness through Mirror and Faith”; “Anticipation through Mirror and Faith”; “Acceptance through Mirror and Faith”; and “Engagement through Mirror and Faith.” Participants reported a liberating and empowering experiences, whereby “a mirror” had been held up for them by others, as they began to recognize many beliefs, attitudes and behaviours they had previously exhibited themselves. They expressed that the process helped them to more clearly understand “who” they were as people of faith, as members of the body of Christ, and as human persons journeying alongside others, and to come to a place where they could focus on the peace and joy inherent in the Christian love and acceptance of others. The findings are discussed in light of relevant literature, implications are noted, and recommendations for further research are proposed.

Convocation Year

1994

Convocation Season

Spring

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