service interruptus

Colorado Pastor Halts Funeral — 15 Minutes In — Because Deceased Was A Lesbian

Vanessa CollierHere’s a question we hope you’ll never discover the answer to: What do you do when you’re at the funeral of a loved one and the minister suddenly announces — 15 minutes into the service — that the memorial cannot continue because the recently departed was a lesbian?

If you’re like some folks in Lakewood, Colorado, you take matters into your own hands.

The Denver Post reports that on Saturday hundreds of friends and family were mourning the loss of Vanessa Collier, one half of a lesbian couple and the mother of two children, aged 7 and 11, when the pastor of the New Hope Ministries stopped the open-casket funeral and decreed that service would not go on unless all pictures showing Collier (at left in the above photo) with her wife, Christina, were removed.

Those in attendance say Pastor Ray Chavez insisted there could be nothing present to indicate that Collier, 33, was gay. “Love thy neighbor” is evidently not a doctrine of this particular church. Perhaps it was replaced with “Be a callous and unfeeling hypocrite.”

So, what did Collier’s loved ones do? They picked everything up — including the casket — and hauled ass out of there, relocating the funeral to a mortuary across the street.

Collier’s longtime friend Victoria Quintana called the experience “humiliating.”

“A church turning away a funeral. Who has ever heard of anything like that happening?” said another friend, Jeanette Arguello.

Friends say New Hope Ministries was selected for the memorial because of its close proximity to where Collier, who police say might have committed suicide, grew up.

When a reporter from the Denver Post called New Hope Ministries, they declined to comment on the incident and hung up. Because that’s what Jesus would do.