A 20-year-old Saint Thomas University student says that a Canadian church dismissed him from his job volunteering in the children's ministry because of his sexual orientation.
In a Monday interview with Global News, Colin Briggs explained that he had volunteered at the Crosspoint Wesleyan church in Fredericton for years until he was kicked out of the program last week. He had also worked as a camp counselor for two years and joined a mission to Haiti.
"They basically told me they would prefer that I wouldn’t volunteer there because I was gay," Briggs said. "I went to sign up again this year to volunteer and I didn’t think anything would be a big deal."
Briggs' story went viral last week after he spoke out to a campus paper, The News Brunswick Beacon.
Pastor Mark Brewer told the paper that he had asked Briggs to stop volunteering to "avoid any potential uproar that may be caused if families were to find out an openly gay male was working in the children’s ministry."
"Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable," Brewer insisted.
However, the pastor said that Briggs was welcome to attend the church as long as he did not volunteer around children.
During his sermon on Sunday, Brewer addressed the controversy, saying that "much of what you read on the Internet is not true."
"We have never taught a message of hate or discrimination," he remarked. "Tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. We respect the rights of people to make their own personal choices in these matters, but we request that we receive the same respect as a church in making these decisions."
Watch this video from Global News, broadcast Sept. 23, 2014.
Watch this video from Crosspoint Wesleyan church, broadcast Sept. 22, 2013.