Carol S. Chonoska

Deacon, Ordained 1980.
Ruling Elder, 2011.

I have been a member of a Presbyterian church for as long as I can remember. Both my father and one of my brothers are Presbyterian teaching elders (ministers). Being an active part of my church community has always been a focal point in my life. I have served in church choirs, as a Sunday school teacher, vacation bible school teacher/director, as moderator of PW, worship leader and many other non-ordained positions as well as a deacon. When I “came out” after 16 years of heterosexual marriage in a small rural community, I was asked to resign from all of my leadership positions. I continued attending church, determined to show the congregation that I was still the spirit-led woman they had known previously. Gradually the initial sting subsided to a chronic ache in my heart. I started dreading going to church and felt that my commitment was more of a burden than a joy. Then, I stumbled into East Liberty PC in Pittsburgh. Once I walked in the door, I knew I was home. The welcome was genuine and the spirit in the room was unmistakable. I left that first service feeling humbled by the joy. I had not realized how empty my own spirit had become until it started to fill back up again that morning.I have been attending church at ELPC for the last 8 years, even though it is about 30 miles away from my home. I am able to proudly serve and participate in the full life of the church. I can be myself. I can bring my wife and children to church. I have used my God-given gifts to serve on our Justice Committee, Mission Board, Deacon, Elder and Presbyterian Women. I have become active in the presbytery by serving as chair for the presbytery’s Task Force on Ministry With Sexual Minorities. It is important to me to stand up and make a place at the table for other GLBT people who do not yet feel the grace of God’s welcome and call to communion within the church.

Comments will go through moderation before they are posted. Those wishing to leave a comment must include their full name and a working email address, and all comments must be respectful and civil. Personal, ad hominem, or anonymous comments will not be allowed.