Did you still struggle with your sexual orientation?When I went to seminary, I was still married and had not begun to come to terms with my sexuality.Salem is a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation that participates in the national Lutheran movement advocating for the inclusion of LGBTQ people in all aspects of the life of the Lutheran Church.Havard spoke to Out Smart magazine about his background, his journey to becoming a pastor, and what it was like when he first came out to a previous congregation. Marvin Havard: I grew up in the little town of Roxie, Mississippi, near Natchez, in a fundamentalist Southern Baptist family and church. Being gay was a certain ticket to hell in their teaching, and so when I began to realize that I liked boys, I spent years praying, hiding, trying to change, and repressing my feelings.I wasn’t sure there was a way forward for me until I unintentionally outed myself during a conversation with a friend in 2014, and began working on accepting and loving my entire being.Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries has worked for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in ministry for many years.Since that time many parishes in the Synods and the Archdiocese have held prayer services for unity and have fostered conversation among clergy and laity on further implications of the Covenant.
Many ELCA churches were open and affirming, but the official policy of the denomination was not.
Some of the best moments were the unexpected people who came to speak to me and confess that while they still weren’t comfortable with the idea of a gay pastor, knowing me and being part of my coming-out process had made them rethink their position.
A few members were upset [when I came out], and they left to go to more conservative churches.
Like so many LGBTQ people in these circumstances, I became severely depressed, suicidal, and finally shut down emotionally in order to survive.
I went to college at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, and received a music-education degree in choral music and piano.