Tags: vanessa collier | lesbian | denied | funeral | church

Vanessa Collier: Church Denies Funeral to Lesbian Woman

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 01:30 PM

Vanessa Collier, a lesbian woman who died recently in Denver, is being denied a funeral by a church after her family refused to remove photos of her kissing her wife from a memorial video.

New Hope Ministries has received much backlash for the last-minute decision, with protesters marching in front of the church on Tuesday, ABC's 7News Denver reported.

"People started taking their seats at 10 a.m.," Collier's friend, Jose Silva said of the Saturday funeral. "At 10:15, the pastor said, 'Due to technical difficulties, the funeral is being moved.'"

Gary Rolando, the chaplain who conducted the service at Newcomer Funeral Home, told 7News that the funeral director wasn’t aware of New Hope Ministries' policies against "overt, open homosexuality in their sanctuary." He said the church had been given 48 hours to review the video, but lost it and asked for another copy.

When the family declined to edit the video to remove the kissing photos, the funeral was moved.

"It felt like I had been hit with a bat across the chest," Silva told 7News. "It was the most horrific feeling I have ever had. Every person who dies should have an opportunity to be buried with dignity."

Pastor Ray Chavez has declined to comment, but Rolando, who is a friend of Collier’s father, said the pastor is distraught, The Washington Post reported.

"The pastor of the church did not sleep well the next two nights," Rolando said. "He’s really struggling because he really desired to minister to that family."

Friends called the incident humiliating and devastating, The Denver Post reported.

On Tuesday, protesters carried signs with statements including "You will not find Jesus at New Hope but you will find hypocrisy," and "Indignity in death," The Post said.

Twitter users reacted strongly to the story.









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Vanessa Collier, a lesbian woman who died recently in Denver, is being denied a funeral by a church after her family refused to remove photos of her kissing her wife from a memorial video.
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2015-30-14
Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 01:30 PM
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