A 20-year-old Saint Thomas University student says he volunteered at a church for years until he was kicked out of the program last week for being gay.
Colin Briggs was a volunteer in the children’s ministry at Crosspoint Weslyean in New Brunswick for two years, during which he joined a mission to Haiti and worked as a camp counselor.
“They basically told me they would prefer that I wouldn’t volunteer there because I was gay,” Briggs told Global News.
He said the church called him in for meeting last week.
“I went to sign up again this year to volunteer and I didn’t think anything would be a big deal,” he said.
When he was asked not to return, he spoke out about the incident to The New Brunswick Beacon. Afterwards, he received an outpouring of support.
Pastor of the Fredericton church Mark Brewer told the paper that Briggs was kept from volunteering because the church wanted to “avoid any potential uproar that may be caused if families were to find out an openly gay male was working in the children’s ministry.”
“Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable,” Brewer said.
During his Sunday service, Brewer told the congregation about the incident, claiming “much of what you read on the Internet is not true.”
“We have never taught a message of hate or discrimination,” he said. “Tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. We respect the rights of people to make their own personal choices in these matters, but we request that we receive the same respect as a church in making these decisions.”
He said Briggs is able to attend the church, but not able to work with children there.
Briggs told the Global News he is still a loyal parishioner, but he isn’t sure if he wants to go back to the church.