By Candace Sindelman
Reverend Katrina Foster is the pastor at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett and Incarnation Lutheran Church in Watermill. She is also a proud advocate of the Legal Immigration Service of Long Island.
Tell us a little bit about your congregation.
We’re a reconciling congregation. We’re very welcoming to GLBTQ people and advertise it and are very public about it in our welcome. There are others that welcome the GLBTQ on the East End, though this is specifically at the forefront of what we do.
As an openly gay pastor what has been your experience and how have any obstacles shaped who you are today?
I grew up gay in the South where it was very clear that you could not be Christian and gay. I knew I loved Jesus and according to them he hated me. Later, I found out that Jesus loved me and that they were the ones that were wrong. Though The Bible and God’s grace continues to be an ongoing journey of faith. In the Hampton’s sexuality hasn’t been an issue. We go to church, take Zoia to school, pay our taxes, walk the dog, go to the beach; we’re just a family. Though the reality is we’re still not treated equally. We still need to repeal the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, fix injustices of the tax system. The reality is that there are people who still hate gay people who want to abuse us verbally, physically and even kill us. It’s easy to become complacent and to think everything is okay; we still have a long way to go.
Through baptism God claims us as God’s own children. When I baptize a baby I don’t say this straight baby or gay baby, it’s a baby. Some baby’s grow up straight and some gay and God made them all equally.
What future steps do you think can be taken towards the acceptance of gays and lesbians in other congregations?
Pastors have to have the courage to come out as allies. The problem is with those who are homophobic. We need to work to change the system. When an issue becomes a person, then the way we vote on that issue changes. When our son or daughter is bi or gay, our votes change as our opinions change. Kids are being denied the same rights that straight people have. Overwhelmingly huge portions of the homeless are queer kids. There are families who haven’t quoted scripture in years, and these parents fail when they throw their kids out. We need to create safe places for these kids to go and stand up against what is wrong. We need to make sure that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell stays repealed. We need to always work for the rights of the marginalized.
For more information about the Incarnation Lutheran Church visit ilcbh.com. Worship is at 9 a.m. every Sunday. You may also visit their Facebook page. You may watch her videos on Vimeo T.V. online or you can listen to WNLG on 92.1 You may also email her at email@example.com