Christopher William Purdom – member since 1964
I was baptized here as an infant in 1964, attended nursery school in the space that is now the sanctuary, joined in 1977, was ordained as an elder here, married here, and had both my kids baptized here. Tab is my second home, where I have always felt like part of a community. In 1990, when the congregation first considered becoming a More Light/Open and Affirming congregation, I started down my path as a faith-based queer rights activist (which you can read about on lgbtran.org) and became somewhat well known as a heretic. In 2014 I worked with our then pastor Patricia Pearce to develop a more cohesive and workable personality and identity; on Christmas Eve 2014 I entered the sanctuary and had what I call my born again experience, not in the salvationist Christian sense, but simply as a new person loved by God as an individual.
Lucinda Megill Legendre – member since 2010.
When we were moving to Philadelphia so my husband could study at the University of Pennsylvania, we knew we wanted to find a church that was gay-friendly, or “more light” as the Presbyterians call it. Even though he and I both identify as straight, being in a community that is open and affirming of all matches our beliefs and values. The Gospel is for all people. Jesus’ words of love and calls to justice are for all people. A community is stronger when we can all be our authentic selves. When we found Tab we knew it could be home. A sanctuary of people committed to reflecting and acting together for more justice and love in the world is the kind of place we want to spend time on a Sunday morning. Now that we have two children we are so glad to raise them in a church full of people resolved to teach the good news of God’s inclusive love and live it out. We know that this congregation will support our whole family to be our whole selves and do God’s work in this world. It is so important to us bring our children up in a community that reinforces our values of love for all people, celebration of diversity and commitment to justice. We do this so that no matter where their journey takes them, they will have these values as their foundation.
Rev. Geneva Butz – member since 2009
I am a life-long Christian. I was baptized as a baby and started to attend church when I was three years old. I cannot imagine not observing the Sabbath on Sunday by attending church. I need to reconnect with God each week and come together with God’s people to remember that I too am created in God’s image. Life presents so many challenges that it is easy to forget that God is ultimately in charge of this world. God created it and works through us to renew and restore God’s reign in the world. I want to be part of this powerful witness through the Tabernacle community.
I came to Tab because it is part of the United Church of Christ. I want to keep connected to this progressive denomination in which God is still speaking and all are welcome.
Vic Compher – member since 1971
My wife and I were young adults when we moved to Philadelphia many years ago for graduate education and work. We knew no one in the city at that time and were seeking a warm, open community of people who value diversity and international experience and perspectives. We had both lived abroad, and so we volunteered to assist with Tabernacle’s English conversation classes for foreign students.
We have come to see Tabernacle (Tab) as a crossroads for people of all backgrounds; many come and go because of the fluidity of the university community. However we have continued to be members here for many years, sometimes calling Tab our “small, welcoming town in the Big City.” There is diversity, turnover, continuity and a spirit of creativity and courage here.
Participating in the Sanctuary Movement – both the original one in the mid-1980s – and the current “New Sanctuary Movement,” which provides accompaniment and hospitality to undocumented persons seeking safety in the U.S., has also been a wonderful way to learn about the world and to provide encouragement to others.