Refreshing lack of discrimination
TWO women with two different stories have opened a place of worship for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Nelson Mandela Bay.
While one faced discrimination, the other felt she was never accepted by the people of the church.
Legend Nonxuba, 44, and Khanyisa Sinqe, 32, opened a branch of the Victorious Ministries Church International two months ago.
Both women did not want to name the two churches they attended before opening their own branch.
Nonxuba and her group of 20 meet at Emsengeni Primary School in Zwide on Sundays.
A second group of about 15 meet at the home of Sinqe in KwaNobuhle also on Sundays.
Sixteen years ago, Nonxuba was told by the leadership of her church in Cape Town to repent her sexual preference or get out. “They told me I was not welcome.” Nonxuba left Cape Town in 2013 and made Port Elizabeth her home with her wife, Indy Nonxuba, 40.
Born in Cape Town, Nonxuba has two children with Indy.
She realised her sexual orientation when she was 15 years old.
Nonxuba said she and Sinqe were assigned to open a branch of the church after they noticed the LGBTI community in the Bay was hungry for the word of God.
“Most of us grew up in Christian homes where we were taught the word of God. However, our churches do not permit us to participate because of our lifestyle.”
Uitenhage-born Sinqe said Victorious Ministries Church International was established in Durban five years ago by apostle Zinzi Zungu.
The church has five branches around the country including the one in the Bay.
Sinqe is married to a 30-year-old woman, who she did not want to name. She has a four-year-old son.
“Our task is to break the stigma and fear for people to freely worship God. The plan is to go viral in Nelson Mandela Bay,” Sinqe said.
While she had never experienced discrimination at church, Sinqe said: “I sang and worshipped with them. But inside, I felt I was only accommodated because they did not want to appear funny.”
Metro Council of Churches secretary Archdeacon Zweli Tom said: “We were all sinners but saved by the word of God. A church should be loving and protect the dignity of individuals.
“We have many gays and lesbians in our churches. We are sorry there is discrimination in the church.”