City Pages story a national finalist in GLAAD Media Awards
It was late November in 2004 and Lauren Wendt was on her way to a Wednesday-evening church service. As she walked up the concrete steps and entered through the white doors of the brick-faced Ascension Lutheran Church, she was ready to pray. She enjoyed her work volunteering for a church-based immigration and refugee service in Maryland, but moving to a new city had made her lonely. Although she thought about dating, she was used to being single--she'd been that way all throughout college.
The walls inside the church were soft blue, the carpet red, and the pews a brilliant shade of colonial white. Gathered inside were about 30 churchgoers in their mid-twenties. A group of skinny boys and girls at the front tuned guitars and set up drums as they prepared to play Christian rock to accompany the service.
After taking the pulpit, the pastor encouraged the parishioners to stand and introduce themselves to each other. Wendt enjoyed this part. She has a firm handshake, a pleasant grip that squeezes without hurting. Her green eyes smiled as she basked in the fellowship.
The service went along at a brisk pace--communion, songs, and sermon. As the band began to play its final song, Wendt rose to her feet. She reached her arms out from her sides, closed her eyes, and began to pray.
She went deep within herself. The music faded. And she heard a voice.
"Go to seminary," it said.
Wendt felt a calming presence descend on her body. The voice seemed to embrace her from head to toe. She was sure it was God.
Then he added: "And you're gay. Get over it."Read the rest of Campbell's piece here. View all of the category nominees here.