Mary Lou Wallner lost her lesbian Christian daughter to suicide in February of 1997. Being raised in a fundamentalist, legalistic church environment, Mary Lou was taught the untruth that homosexuality is a sin. Her journey from "tragedy to transformation" is nothing short of amazing.
She and her husband, Bob, are strong allies for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual and Transgender people. They have a sincere desire to see the church accept and welcome GLBT people just the way God made them, and they spearhead a weekly Bible study in their home for GLBT Christians.
Recently, a previous patient of Mary Lou's and now a good friend, Julio Soto, sent an email expressing how he felt about Mary Lou's work. Julio gave his permission for us to publish his words on TEACH Ministries web site:
..."I just saw your speech engagements and my jaw dropped, so many places and ears and souls needing your words and courage.
"I read your guest book and well... to tell you the truth Mary Lou, my eyes began to water.
"I don't know how to describe how I felt.
"It was like... MY Lord Jesus, I know this woman personally, I saw through her eyes, the caring and powerful leader that she is... I saw that in person from the time we first met. How wonderful it was to have her care for me, to assure me, and to comfort me as I myself was going through some difficult changes...
"I know I have more thoughts and feelings but to sum it up in a few words is this: Seeing your guestbook and the comments gave me a feeling of great pride for you. All the people who wrote and expressed feelings because you were able to touch them, and some, who haven't met you yet.. some whom have never had the compassionate hands and eyes of yours as a friend or nurse...
How lucky are Bill and I!!
"Anyhow, I know you are super busy now, just wanted to say hi and share with you these thoughts...
"I know it may seem unstructured..this e-mail.. just got a powerful urge to say "Thank You".. Not only for all the work you have done with Bill and I, but for all the hopes and encouragement you are providing for so many people around our nation.
"I hope that your engagements and speeches across the country can inspire more and more people to believe that God loves all humanity, regardless of what the Church may be teaching.. Your letter to the senator was most inspiring to me, and I have shared it with Bill also."
Mary Lou and Bob were presented with the "Love Welcomes All" award by MCC Austin for the year 2005. The plaque's inscription is as follows:
MCC AUSTIN At FREEDOM OAKS
LOVE WELCOMES ALL
Award Presented to Mary Lou and Bob Wallner and T.E.A.C.H. Ministry
In recognition of your tireless struggle against the tragic effects of homophobia in our families and churches, and to assist Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered people in living lives of dignity, pride and faith.
Presented by MCC Austin at Freedom Oaks November 17, 2004
"The Slow Miracle of Transformation" has been revised and updated and is available here.
If you have read Mary Lou's book share your thoughts.
Mary Lou recently gave a short talk at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church and you can watch the video here.
If you would like to book Mary Lou to speak at your conference or event, please contact her.
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