Canadian Pastor Kicks Out Youth Volunteer Because He’s Gay

A youth church volunteer at Wesleyan Church in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada was asked to leave the church because he's gay, the New Brunswick Beacon reports:

BriggsColin Briggs, 20, has volunteered at the church since 2011. He also worked as a camp counselor for two years. During his last year of high school in 2011, he joined a mission to Haiti.

Pastor Mark Brewer asked Briggs to stop by the church on September 18 for a meeting. The youth pastor, Nathalie Estey, was also present.

To his shock, they asked Briggs to stop his volunteer activities. They said he was welcome to continue attending church services.

“We felt it would be in the best interest of him and the church if he stopped serving,” said Brewer. This would “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.”

The pastor added: “Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable.”


  1. Tommyz says

    Funny that when christians do this – we post it as news – but the Ali Forney center in NYC has a similar rule – as donors you are not allowed to interact and / or mentor the youth at their facility. Why isn’t that news too?

  2. terry says

    He chose to be part of this cult so he’s got no right to complain. Religion is a means by which people legally organize themselves into hate groups. You should not be part of a group that hates you.

  3. oncemorewithfeeling says

    I’m the first person to say not to feed the trolls, but:

    The many reasons why it’s evil when Christianists discriminate against gay people based on either their book of fairy tales or other lies they tell themselves and why it’s common sense when charitable organizations have policies in place that separate their privileged donors from the vulnerable population they serve, whose lives are actively being rescued by organized plans that are being put into action by the charitable organization, are all self-evident to anyone who’s not an absolute out-and-out idiot.

    But thank you for taking the time to attempt to smear a worthy organization with bizarre stupidity while defending the evil that Christianists do.

    The question here is: why is a decent young man throwing himself away on Christianism when he could be doing so much good in the world?

  4. Joe in Ct says

    It’s the church’s loss. Colin can and should just move on. There are many other more welcoming churches and organizations he can support as a talented volunteer. Leave the small minded behind, Colin, and find your true purpose elsewhere.

  5. Pete N SFO says

    Well at least the church didn’t let their ignorance & prejudice get in the way of their Xtian message.

    (Big, BIG, muthafuk*n eye-roll)

    Colin is young & wants to make a difference. There are lots of organizations that will happily welcome him.

  6. Mike from Rockville says

    I’m just back from church – a church where he would be welcomed. Mostly st8 congregation, but as it happens right now, 3 of the seven people working in our Sunday school are gay – no one turns a hair. So please don’t lump all Christians with these idiots.

    God bless,


  7. Tommyz says

    I smeared no one and defended no one. A blindly stupid policy based on the potential for abuse – real or imagined – is still a blindly stupid policy. Both organizations feel that they are ‘helping’ youth – so the positions are equal. When we as gay people cannot get past prejudice that all gay men are unsuitable to be with children – its silly – but when a gay organization does this – its either A: Clear pandering to their heterosexual donors or B: Uninformed or C: both. Gay youth at risk are the MOST in need of adult mentors. Gay Adult mentors – Ali Forney doesn’t allow contact because they ‘fear’ what might happen if something were to go wrong – as does this church. Unfounded fear = stupidity either way. I have no idea how someone can defend keeping gay youth in need of mentorship and the experience of strength and hope of adult gays while decrying that a church would do the same? I feel both are stupid. There is no smearing – especially as other gay charities that help at risk gay youth have opted for a different path and encourage mentoriing programs. The hypocrisy is what astounds me – criticize one group for an uninformed view – and then laud a gay group that takes the same position for equally absurd reasons.

  8. pedro says

    I’m sorry…but men who show uber interest in little children that aren’t their own makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Especially poor disadvantaged kids, as in the case of Jerry Sandusky. It just isn’t normal for a 20 year old white boy to show so much interest in little Haitian kids…


    Yes, that is their logic. Adapt to bigotry instead of bigots adapting to normalcy. Way to go. I guess he must’ve suspected with whom he was helping though.

  10. says

    @Pedro: Über interest in children like Sandusky, huh? What a weird leap. The Haitian kids need help. Why wouldn’t a 20 year-old male (or female) want to help kids? Bizarre that you’d think there’s some reason why an openly gay guy shouldn’t be around children. Should gay men not be fathers either?

  11. BobN says

    ” – as donors you are not allowed to interact and / or mentor the youth at their facility”

    Well, if all you’ve done is give money, why should they let you interact with the residents? It’s not a zoo.

  12. Tommyz says

    “If all you’ve done is give money – then why” – well – thing is – the only thing they let you do is give money. I gave money.

    Has no one heard of screening? Background checks? Group mentorship programs? There are ways to screen out people with alternative motives – and btw – professional counselors sometimes have ulterior motives as well.

    Other charitable organizations that focus on gay youth in other states and countries have found the best way to get these kids off the streets and to build self esteem is through interaction with non-judgmental adult mentors.

    My point in writing was made self evident in posts here – one writing that anyone who wants to interact with Haitian youth is suspect? Does that go for straight couples as well? Gay married couples? Where do you draw the line? The immediate assumption that an adult with an interest in helping youth is suspect – and doubly so when gay is antiquated, homophobic, and ridiculous.
    Should we assume all christian households are bad for foster kids who are gay? Should gays be allowed to foster? To mentor? Do gays not have a desire to ‘parent’ – and if they do – shall we immediately hold them suspect?

    Luckily not all groups (Churches or other) are so interested in pandering to misinformed stereotypes and recognize the benefits of adult mentorship programs.

    I encourage anyone donating money to do so to programs that work and are enlightened enough to not paint the entire gay community with a swath of suspicion in the process.

  13. jersey says

    Well there’s a pastor here outside of Philly who is now free to move on to a new Parrish and he’s definitely not openly gay. They may have to wait a bit till he’s thru his trial for molesting a 15 year old boy and who knows how many others. I’m sure this is the kind of person the church would prefer in this role, after all they moved this priest around 15 times already.

  14. Piet says

    The parents might be made uncomfortable by an openly gay man working with their kids but it won’t bother them a bit if there’s a closet pedophile in that position. They apparently haven’t heard that 98% of sexual abuse of children is committed by heterosexuals. Perhaps they need to get all the adults out of the equation.

  15. bambinoitaliano says

    Religions are like guns. It has it’s usefulness to an extend. Far too many stupid people have access to it and they manage to turn into a circus. Bottom line is stupid people should not have access to a lot of things in society. No guns no religions, no internet for them. They have to earn the right to excess to these things.

  16. Jim says

    If you know anything about grubby church politics, then you know that a faction of members have let the pastor know in no uncertain terms that either Colin goes or they (and their money) do. Pastor Brewer knows that his job is on the line, so he does the courageous Christian thing: appease the bigots in the pews and give the boot to the guy who gives his time in service and labor for the church. So much for Christian charity and love of neighbor. This sordid episode tells you absolutely everything you need to know about the people who attend Wesleyan Church in Fredricton. Somebody should nail a bio-hazard sign to the church’s front door to warn townsfolk about this toxic waste dump.

  17. scizors says

    Oh & maybe, just maybe they should start taking the advise of their Pope – ‘if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.’ He also said something along to way that ‘the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.’…well, I guess in Briggs case it was lost in translation.

  18. Larry says

    This is what passes for leadership at this church? pathetic.

    The pastor and youth pastor don’t have the courage of their convictions. They aren’t saying that Mr. Briggs was a bad youth counselor or that any children were in danger. Only that there may be some simpleminded church members that might have these erroneous and prejudiced opinions, and they might object.

    Did it ever occur to the pastor or the youth pastor that their leadership positions might require them to have a backbone, and confront evil or stupidity directly? Instead, they cower at the possibility that someone might object. And, then blame the innocent.


  19. SeattleMike says

    “The pastor added: “Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable.””

    And of course Jesus never did anything that made people feel uncomfortable.

  20. simon says

    They are not Catholics. Therefore the Pope is not their Pope. But they can still listen to some good advice. It isn’t even be a religious issue. No one should judge except the one in the court.

  21. Marc says

    Fredericton is like that. When I went to law school there , we had issues with the local high school because we wanted to have a LGBT youth group in the city and they would not allow us to put posters up.

    As well the mayor had been taken to the human rights tribunal for not proclaiming gay pride when he would proclaim anything else.

  22. Art says

    Religion, so full of hate and fear. I thought God and Jesus were supposed to remove fear.

    Quess the Bible must be lying about that…

    So if that’s a lie, what else is?

    Guess … everything. And religion is just a tool for social terrorism and Satan.

    Thank God and Jesus I have met them face to face and not through these deciples of Satan and the Anti_Christ.

    Ohhhh God, I just sinned and talked to them directly, instead of having it filtered and poisoned by the Church.


  23. AngelaChanning says

    Is there link to the Ali Forney Center policy about restricting high end donors from mentoring their clients? Assuming TommyZ has characterized the policy accurately, the restriction is not based on sexual orientation but more likely on a risk management model that would likely to seek to reduce access to anyone with perceived or actual power. In practicality, how many high end donors show an interest in this role anyway? Unless the policy is produced, the argument is a false equivalency.

  24. Hagatha says

    What the pastor did to him is nothing compared to what those Haitians would do to him if they had a chance.

    The bottom line is this: don’t hang out with trash. Don’t seek the approval of trash. If you were born into trash, then strive to rise above it even if people like me will always consider you to be trash.

  25. david from edmonton says

    Seriously Pedro? Get your stupid fears in check. I’m single. I have lots of friends with kids. They trust me and have every reason to do so. I’m thinking maybe you’re the one not to trust if that’s where your mind goes. Honestly! On another note even in tolerant Canada there are those who embarrass me with their narrow minded beliefs. Next thing we will have to declare our sexuality to volunteer. This world gets more and more discouraging on a daily basis. I try to be understanding and tolerant of others but every day it gets more and more difficult to be civil to these people and their hatred and bigoted attitudes and using God and Christ to justify themselves. These Christians will get a huge surprise in the afterlife.

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