FREDERICTON – Colin Briggs, a 20-year-old Saint Thomas University student, was a longtime volunteer at the Crosspoint Wesleyan church in Fredericton until last week, when the church told him to stop volunteering because of his sexual orientation.
“They basically told me they would prefer that I wouldn’t volunteer there because I was gay,” he said.
Briggs has worked with the children’s ministry for two years. He was shocked when the church called him for a meeting last week.
“I went to sign up again this year to volunteer and I didn’t think anything would be a big deal,” said Briggs.
At first, Briggs planned to keep the meeting private.
“I did not want to bring any negative attention to the church,” he said.
But after speaking out to school newspaper The New Brunswick Beacon, the story has gone viral. Briggs has received overwhelming support, both on and off campus.
“He was doing a lot of good … It’s wrong to remove someone based on sexual a orientation alone,” said STU student Robert Booth,
Crosspoint Wesleyan Church declined comment to Global News about the reason for Briggs’ dismissal. But in an interview with The New Brunswick Beacon last Friday, Pastor Mark Brewers said Briggs’ dismissal would “avoid any potential uproar that may be caused if families were to find out an openly gay male was working in the children’s ministry.”
He went on to say that Briggs is welcome to attend the church, just not as a volunteer with the children’s ministry.
The decision isn’t sitting well with university student Maggie Murphy.
“I think they should take it back and let him work with the kids, “she said.
Briggs isn’t sure he wants to go back. He says he’s not angry with the church, and still considers himself a loyal parishioner.
First and foremost, he says he needs to stand up for who he is because he knows of others going through the same struggle.