Some very moving thoughts from my beloved wife, Margaret, as my departure for Uganda nears: 10 days and counting now!
The Spouse’s Perspective
Margaret Schuster March 10, 2013
My husband, David Weiss, leaves for Uganda in ten days time and it’s hard to know exactly how to feel about this. On the one hand, this is exciting beyond belief. On the other hand, it’s feels more than a little scary. The news about what’s happening in Uganda deeply worries me—not only for our LGBT brothers and sisters who are living in this fear-frenzied time—but also for outspoken allies like Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican Bishop and active ally for our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda, and my spouse, David Weiss.
In the Ugandan Parliament, the latest version of the Anti-Homosexuality bill greatly heightens the penalties for engaging in same sex activity. The prescription? The death penalty. The Bill also criminalizes being an Ally. Offering support of any means, whether material goods, emotional aid, or pastoral care could land you in prison for seven years. And simply being aware that your child, student, or patient is LGBT and failing to report them within 24 hours could get you a prison sentence of three years.
Death, as a penalty for love, seems an extreme solution. The fact that this death penalty is connected to American Fundamentalists who carry “a Christian message” seems…well, unbelievable.
These are the conditions into which my love will journey. Supporting him as he travels is a given. Fearing for him may be at the back of my mind, too. But his work, the Bishop’s work and ultimately, our ongoing work back here at home will not be stopped. In fact, when David returns, the real work begins. How do we support LGBT efforts across the sea, across religious lines, across race / culture / political persuasion? The questions may seem endless at this point; the answers may seem too few.
At St. Paul Reformation’s Ash Wednesday service, these prayerful words hit home for me: Ever living God, you hate nothing you have made. You forgive the shortcomings and misdeeds of all your people and of all living things throughout your whole creation. Create in us new and honest hearts, gracious God. Grant us full and complete reconciliation…so that we may serve you and every neighbor in the abundance of your grace. Amen.
When David returns, I am certain we will find ourselves challenged in trying to understand the complexities of the situation in Uganda—news, stories, and insight that David will bring back to us. I know I will repeat this Lenten prayer more times than not during the two weeks he is gone.
Today (March 10) Wingspan Ministry’s Uganda Team gave a celebratory send-off for David. While 70+ people enjoyed a light luncheon, Leo Treadway gave us background information on the relationship between Wingspan and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and the ongoing partnership of support for St. Paul’s Centre for Reconciliation and Equality in Kampala. David followed up with info on his itinerary and we had a chance to ask further questions. We sang David’s hymn, Preserve Uganda’s Future Hope—powerful words on this day of celebration and reflection. My thanks, as the spouse of this gentle yet persistent and outspoken ally, is to you—our friends, family, supporters, and even strangers who joined in prayer and song, who gave generously to support these efforts. And, on this day, in the days ahead until he travels, and all the while he’s gone, your prayers and songs are of great importance to me as well, knowing they will have to carry us both into this adventure and back again.
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