Pastor Sandy Van Zyl of the United Congregational Church was kind enough to contribute her experience working for equality and affirmation of LGBTQ individuals in Butte for the LGBTQ: Voices of Butte project.
Pastor Sandy and her husband have lived in Montana since 1992, working as Lutheran pastors in Great Falls. In 2011 they moved to Butte, where Pastor Sandy eventually found work with the United Congregational Church, an affiliate of the United Church of Christ. As an open and affirming church of all people regardless of orientation, the church supports the LGBTQ community by marching in Pride Parades, welcoming LGBTQ individuals into the church, participating in PFLAG events, and supporting the recently passed nondiscrimination ordinance in Butte, among other things.
For Pastor Sandy in particular, faith was the motivating factor to become the public voice for her congregation during the city council hearings prior to the passage of the ordinance.
During the rally at the courthouse before the last vote on the nondiscrimination ordinance, Pastor Sandy referenced a quote used by Martin Luther King from a public speech delivered on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965: “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Pastor Sandy finds encouragement in this statement, because ultimately for her and the United Congregational Church, love wins. “It may not every day, but ultimately that’s what God’s about. Love wins.”
The entire 33-minute interview will be available in the near future through the Montana Memory Project. If interested in contributing your story to this project, please contact Marian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-3361 x6302.