By in Relationships

Pastor Denies Funeral Services for Lesbian Woman

Vanessa Collier, 33, died in December 30, 2014 and her funeral service was scheduled at New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, Colo., on Jan. 10, 2015. It was a tragic death as she died when her gun went off while she was cleaning it. She is survived by two daughters and her wife. Yes, her Wife.

Vanessa was a lesbian woman. This is not a story of my personal opinion about lesbian or gay relationships. I write this because her funeral services were to be held at New Hope Ministries Church in Lakewood, Colorado. The pastor is Ray Chavez. But he and the church refused to honor the deceased with her funeral service because they discovered that a family memorial video had photos of Vanessa Collier kissing her wife, Christina Higley. A family friend of 15 years, Dawnnetta Pierce-Fernandez, was quoted as saying, “They said that they didn’t agree with her alternative lifestyle. They gave the family the option to edit the video and the family decided that they were not going to allow Vanessa’s life to be edited.”

As if it could be any worse, Pastor Chavez did not cancel the service until after its scheduled start. Fifteen minutes went by before he cancelled her final services, in front of her friends and family who had come to pay final respects. I do not know the family, but support those 1000% with their decision to not edit the video northern deceased lifestyle. “Chaplain Gary Rolando, a friend of Collier’s father, who ultimately conducted the funeral and internment service instead”…said Chavez was willing to allow photos of Collier’s marriage proposal to be shown, and that they asked “that their policy be followed and that they not be overtly affectionate in the way of kissing,”

I am not an overly zealous Christian, but in the Bible, it says,“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;”(Luke 6:37). Would not Pastor Chavez and his New Hope church agree that the Bible might have a bit more history and relevance than his own policies?


Image Credit » C:\Users\John\Pictures\stock-photo-religion-death-and-dolor-funeral-and-cemetery-funeral-with-coffin-87196501.jpg

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Comments

MsTina wrote on January 14, 2015, 1:12 PM

The problem with Christianity is that the holy book has so many conflicting rules. People pick and choose which ones they will follow and most of them ignore the passage you quoted.

Soonerdad3 wrote on January 14, 2015, 1:36 PM

There is no problem with Christianity, the problem lies with the individuals that find conflict with what the bible says. No one says individuals cannot live their lives the way they choose, however, at the same time no one has the right to tell another person how they have to feel about it. They also don't have the right to tell someone they have to accept it either.

Kenr61 wrote on January 14, 2015, 2:09 PM

We all do make judgements all day long. Yet to pass judgement on someone's salvation is extremely dangerous and can be totally wrong. But, regardless of any religious beliefs, to have waited until 15 minutes past the time the final services were to start and after all family and friends were there to pay respects, is totally wrong as well and an unneeded hardship on the family during their time of need.

soupdragon wrote on January 14, 2015, 4:00 PM

Tolerance is the key word. Why is it so hard to accept another person's lifestyle when they are not hurting anyone? On the one hand we get up in arms about Muslim intolerance, but Christianity can be every bit as intolerant.

Soonerdad3 wrote on January 14, 2015, 7:03 PM

The problem is telling someone they have to accept or tolerate something they don't believe in is unacceptable. Just because you accept or tolerate something is your business, whether or not someone else does is not your business. Just my honest opinion.

Soonerdad3 wrote on January 14, 2015, 7:07 PM

By the according to the post the pastor did not say anything about not being willing to officiate the funeral services, he only refused to show specific pictures.

Kenr61 wrote on January 15, 2015, 4:20 AM

Well, I appreciate you reading the post and making your comments as well, but I do need to point out that in Paragraph , Sentences 4 & 5 ;
I wrote the following, " The pastor is Ray Chavez. But he and the church refused to honor the deceased with her funeral service because they discovered that a family memorial video had photos of Vanessa Collier kissing her wife, Christina Higley." He did say he would refuse to hold her service unless the family edited out the photos of the two women kissing. See Paragraph 2, Sentence ; "...They gave the family the option to edit the video and the family decided that they were not going to allow Vanessa’s life to be edited.”
I truly do not wish to play semantics, I only was summarizing the story and found it odd that a church and its pastor would not proceed with the funeral service if the family would not edit out the kissing pictures. I really do appreciate your reading the post and taking time to state your view points. I look forward to us both contributing to persona = paper.