Pastor Brings Funeral Service To A Screeching Halt After Realizing It Was For A Lesbian

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Family and friends of Vanessa Collier gathered to celebrate her life and lay her to rest at New Hope Ministries in Colorado last weekend. When a slideshow began to reveal that Collier was a lesbian by showing photos of her with her family and children, Pastor Ray Chavez stopped the service. He would not let the funeral continue unless the family agreed to edit photos of Collier with her partner out of the slideshow. How very Christian.

Was this one of the “offending” photos:


Or this?


This is a beautiful family who should have been allowed to memorialize the person they love without a circus of intolerance erupting around them.

Christina Higley, Collier’s partner, explained the events that transpired at the church on a Facebook status update today, saying, “Vanessas services were NOT refused because she is a “lesbian”. Her services were refused because we would not let New Hope Ministries “edit” her life which was a slideshow of our family photos including our engagement and family photos of her and I with our two children!” Well, I doubt the pastor would have asked to “edit” the slideshow if there weren’t pictures of a lesbian relationship in it, so yes, the services were essentially refused because Collier was a lesbian.

“It never crossed my mind that it would be an issue considering we paid to use their facility ONLY. We brought in our own Pastor to facilitate. I would completely understand if we were asking to be married there and it be a conflict of interest,” explained Higley. So the family paid to use the facility, brought in their own pastor, and still the services were stopped. I think all churches that don’t support gay marriage should be required to post a plaque out front that says, “We don’t really feel like listening to Jesus. Enter at your own risk.”

Pastor Chavez – which of Jesus’ teachings drove you to humiliate a family on one of the hardest days of their lives and stop a memorial from taking place? Friends of the family told the Denver Post that the church received the video a week before the service and had plenty of time to review it if it’s their practice to “edit” videos. These were children saying goodbye to their mother and a partner saying goodbye to her love. What kind of awful entity do you have to be to get in the way of that and try to “edit” memories?

I think we’ve all had enough with “religious” figures being horrible to people and getting away with it. Not okay. I’m sorry the family had to go through this, but so glad they can feel the love and support from every person who has heard this story and been outraged on their behalf.