How Would You Respond To The Request of This Family?

Vanessa Collier died on December 30.

Vanessa was a lesbian.

According to ABC News:

Hundreds of Collier’s closest family and friends packed into New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, Colorado Saturday to celebrate her life. But minutes before the start of the funeral service, relatives say they were shocked to hear that the funeral service would not be able to continue.

New Hope’s Pastor Ray Chavez informed the mourning family that the services for Collier would not be able to go on because of the “inappropriate” video that Collier’s family wanted displayed at her casket, relatives say. The video contained photos of Collier kissing her wife on the lips. Another photo captured Collier leaning down on one knee, proposing to her wife. Family members were told that they would be able to proceed with the funeral as long as those images were edited out of the video…

Collier’s family decided that they would not edit the video, and instead moved the funeral to Newcomer Funeral Home, which is located across the street from the church. The family carried Collier’s flowers and photos to the funeral home. Collier’s casket had to be closed, placed in the hearse, and driven across the street.

You can read the whole article here.

What would YOU do in this situation?

Leave your comment below.



  • Jon Stolpe January 15, 2015 Reply

    What do you think Jesus would have done?

    If you read John 8:1-11, I think you could believe Jesus would have graciously done the funeral. We must learn to walk in grace and live in love. The actions taken by this pastor don’t seem to represent Christ.

    Just my opinion… Actually, I wrote a post earlier this week about the call we all have as Christ followers to love. I think it speaks to this situation. Here’s the link:

    What would I do in this situation? I’m not a pastor, so I’m not 100% sure. I hope I’d do the funeral. Funerals are great opportunities to show God’s love in the midst of personal pain and loss.

  • Mark Triplett January 15, 2015 Reply

    I believe the key point was the statement that the church had to have the video in for approval and the funeral home said it was ok. Not the church. Most churches would have some difficulty performing funerals for unmarried couples and would also require approval of elements for the service. This all may have been an example of poor communication from the church and the family.

    The decision to cancel at the last minute was a poor one. This church has lost the opportunity to minister to this family.

  • David Rockey January 17, 2015 Reply

    We don’t know enough about what the scope of the situation was do say one way or another.

  • SG January 19, 2015 Reply

    The pastor should have taken control early on, and,been involved in the funeral -or said no to the use of the church. Having not been in control, it was too late, 15 minutes in, to try to gain control. It was graceless in every meaning of the word, and has gained national.attention. Personally, I do every funeral I’m.asked to do, and give testimony to the grace of God there. It’s not about whether I approved of the life of the deceased; it’s up to God and I was not called to tell the grieving about the destination of their dead – only to speak of the good news of Christ. I probably would have kept the video to before the service, since it seems they had the “viewing” there, too.

  • Dave Patchin January 19, 2015 Reply

    This *should* have been handled when the pastor met with the family about the funeral. If he knew the service was for a married lesbian, he had a chance to prevent all this. I’d have done the funeral….missed opportunity to show love to the living which instead became yet another reason for the gay community to distrust and feel maligned by Christians.

  • Tim Setliff January 19, 2015 Reply

    The video was given to the Church a couple of days before the funeral. They were well aware of the fact that the deceased was lesbian. There was plenty of time to deal with the situation. Though I believe homosexuality is a sin, the greater sin was the Pastor’s laziness in not reviewing the video. I probably would have required the two pictures be omitted because showing them might be construed as condoning the sin. There are ways of doing things correctly and still showing the love of Christ.

    It was a difficult situation that was made worse by the failure to act prudently.

  • James January 20, 2015 Reply

    Like many of you have already stated, you probably would have done the funeral.
    It’s no surprise the “church” didn’t approve, or the pastor etc. He was merely representing the “beliefs” and practices of that “tribe”.
    Now if you want to talk about spirituality, integrity, love, relationships, graciousness, then that’s something totally different than what we find in the “church”. I’m a pastor, which doesn’t pastor any longer because the church does not reflect, I believe, the teachings, practices, attitude, character of Jesus.
    Would I do the funeral? Of course, and I have to marginalized people. Because this is an issue involving people, not beliefs. (Well of course it involves beliefs if that’s your center and focus). If it were about love and compassion then beliefs are illusions of structure and form which are only expressions of a man-made, ego driven entity.
    If you care about people, then we go to the heart of the matter, not the structures which isolate, marginalize and ostracize.
    What made the establishment angry at Jesus? Not his “beliefs”, it was his practices of compassion, miracles, love, and grace. If those are beliefs, then yes His beliefs. But that seems to be the problem, “Jesus practices and heart have become “beliefisms” and not practices….from the heart.”
    Become more like Jesus…..

  • Jay Gainer January 20, 2015 Reply

    The pastor of the church should have made it very clear about the services if he wasn’t involved in the service. If the church was a “location” only, and they leased it for the funeral, then the family had all the control to do anything. By stopping the service, the Christian pastor has lost the opportunity of any witness to the family.

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