Colorado Church Cancels Woman’s Funeral When They Discover She Was A Lesbian


Vanessa Collier was loved by many, including her wife, Christina and their two daughters. Vanessa died on December 30, 2014, when her gun went off while she was cleaning it. Local police have not ruled out that the 33-year-old might have committed suicide. Collier’s funeral was scheduled for January 10 at the New Hope Ministries in Denver, Colorado. Her family paid the church $400 to hold the funeral service in their facilities, and worked hard to make it a celebration of Vanessa’s life.

According to the chaplain for Newcomer, apparently the funeral director for the church on the day the Collier family planned the service was not the normal funeral director, and this person was not aware that New Hope Ministries has a policy against open homosexuality in their sanctuary.

Collier’s family claims they had put together a video to be played during the service, and delivered that to the church per their two-day advance request so they could review what would be shown. That copy, unfortunately, was lost by the church. The family provided another copy on Friday, which the church was not able to review until 20 minutes before the services were scheduled to begin.

Her family and friends began filing into the church and taking their seats at 10:00 Saturday morning. At about 10:15 Saturday morning, Pastor Ray Chavez halted the funeral service, stating that as long as the pictures of Vanessa and Christina were displayed, the service could not continue. Pastor Chavez reportedly told the family that the services could only continue if they were to edit out images of Vanessa showing any form of affection toward her wife. The family declined, stating that they “didn’t want to edit her life.”

Fortunately, Newcomer Funeral Home was across the street from the church, and they were willing to welcome Collier’s family and friends. Collier’s casket was closed, loaded into a hearse, and driven across the street. Family members gathered the photos and floral displays and carried them over themselves. According to accounts, 180 mourners filled Newcomer Funeral Home in a space that was only capable of holding about 60 people.

Reports are that New Hope Ministries has not refunded the family’s money, but instead are said to have walked it over to Newcomer Funeral Home on Monday. This is a point where reports conflict, as protests which have cropped up around the church since this became public are demanding a public apology from the church for basically cancelling a funeral as it was starting, as well as a full refund of the $400 to the family. The family has told reporters that they would have had no problems with moving the service is they had been informed about issues with the video in advance instead of as the service was beginning.

What say you? Should the church have gone ahead with the funeral, or were they right in shutting it down? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

9 News Colorado brings us this update on protests that have taken place since the funeral:

Protest after church rejects funeral photos of lesbian (NBC 9 News)
Friends protest church’s abrupt venue change for lesbian funeral (KDVR)
Relatives Livid After Colorado Church Objects to Lesbian’s Funeral (ABC News)
Family, friends protest New Hope Ministries’ last-minute refusal to host lesbian’s funeral (ABC 7 Denver)
Family: Lakewood church stops woman’s funeral because she was gay (Denver Post)
Colorado church refuses to hold funeral for lesbian woman after dispute over ‘affectionate’ photos (Washington Post)

  • Jara Matthews

    Death is such a painful time. To put people through this during such a time of loss is despicable.
    Jesus Christ would not have edited her life.
    Jesus would have welcomed the lesbian funeral and not caused such horrifying pain to people in a moment of such despair.
    The church should have accepted losing the first tape was THEIR fault and therefor, this one time will overlook their rules and hold the funeral as planned.
    What despicable people.
    This is not Christ’s way.
    Id stay away from that church.
    These people arent preaching God’s love.
    They exhibit total callousness and disregard for human life and suffering.
    Thank god for the place across the street.
    What horrible, horrible people.
    God has spoken.
    God made sure there was somewhere nearby for them to go.
    The other place was God in action.
    Gods own desciples did not live by his rule, so God made sure these people could mourn with dignity across the street.

    • Seneca Williams

      Dumb ass its a Christian church not a fag fest you dont show porn to elementary students so stop the tape send them on their little faggish way and be done with it

      • Kathy

        Well, now you are showing your a**…….you probably protest soldiers funerals. There is a church where you would be a great fit…….

        • kelly

          Westboro fucking stupid ass baptists

      • derricka

        your an a** whole they wasn’t showing porn they were showing her life or maybe you don’t know the difference or maybe you have something against lesbians.

    • Angelica

      Very well said!

  • Seneca Williams

    Fucking stupid i went to church there and they dont represent gay shit and it would make them hypocritical….
    Theres so many gay churches in Denver why would you choose a Real Christian church…. i dont go to taco bell for hamburgers… so fuck that dyke and fuck Jesus im out

    • Kayla Marie Marshall

      You’re extremely disrespectful, to someone you don’t even know. You don’t know her life, the love they had for each other. Instead of judging, accept it. If you’re not gay yourself, that’s fine. No one is forcing you. But being disrespectful to someone based on their sexual orientation is beyond ignorant. The family was grieving a loss. And the church was extremely unprofessional. Everyone has their right to an opinion. But ignorance is not an opinion. Its 2015, give it up already.

    • ashley

      OK let me get this right u say u went to that church so u r a christian. Then u say fuck Jesus like u don’t care. U r so stuck in ur ways its the 21st century seriously grow up. Its ppl like u that show us “dykes” and “faggots” that we r better than u cuz we don’t discriminate because of ppls sexual orientation. We don’t discriminate against u cuz u want a dick in ur life. Therefore back the fuck off and let the family grieve damn. Times r changing either get with it or get the fuck outta the way and shut the fuck up cuz u can’t stop it we can get married in many states now so just cuz there ain’t that many of us don’t mean shit. We have the same rights as u so u r not better than us.

      • Somewoman

        Y r u typing in a texting style? Can`t u take the time the actually type actual words? Geez..

        • ashley

          Somewoman u just did the same fucking thing and my reply wasn’t to u it was to Seneca unless u r seneca and have more than one account to make urself feel special so back the fuck off me bitch

          • Somewoman

            Yes I did do the same thing to show how idiotic it looks.. 😉

          • ashley

            Wow like r u homophobic or what m? O and btw I am texting so unless u for something to say besides bashing on my texting stop messaging me.

          • Wendy

            Get over yourself!

          • Somewoman

            By the way nice language you are using my dear!

        • cherry

          “Y”, “r,” “u”? Those are regular words eh? How about take your own advice…

          • Somewoman

            If you read carefully cherry, you will see why: because I was trying to show how idiotic it looks! 🙂

    • Regina Jackson

      You are NO Christian the way you’re speaking. Have some respect. How old are you, 10? Seriously, grow up. We can all clearly see how ignorant one can be by the way you are treating others. They should have reviewed they video that was the churches fault. The family should have been given at least 2 days or even 24 hours notice. It was wrong of them to do that and on top of all of it not return the money to the family.

      • kelly

        Oh LAWD Regina now you’ve got me all hyped up

    • madchengeist

      “Real”?? LOL Liiiike Westboro Baptist? “Dyke”? ya, Do you also wear a white hood to your “Real church”? I thought those characters in your holy book preached tolerance.

  • Karl N Karissa Crofts

    Fucked up. Aren’t churches supposed to love all those under GOD??? Which is EVERYONE!!!???? How disrespectful can you get? Wow, shame on this church and all those who supported cancelling it for this poor woman and her family and friends.

  • Sumyr Colangelo Keating

    well arnt those church people gonna be surprised when they die and realize god loves lesbians! notice I didn’t say the church people were going to heaven lol

  • kelly

    You’re all ignorant assholes who agree with this bull shit “Christian” church.

  • Sherri Terry

    It’s truly sad that so many people commenting don’t understand that her sexual orientation has nothing to do with what her family was put through due to this “churches” screw up. Try putting yourself in her family’s shoes. What if that was your family trying to celebrate your life after you passed but a few minutes into the service the pastor says no wait stop because we want you to “edit” your loved ones looks weight hair color or sexual preference. You’d be furious hurt & angry on top of the pain due to the loss of a loved one. Apparently that “church’s” pastor & members aren’t the only shallow minded ignorant uneducated fools around. It’s truly pitiful that in 3015 there’s still so much bigotry & hate on this planet. Just because you don’t understand someone else’s life doesn’t give you the right to be rude ignorant judgemental asses. Enough said.

  • Sherri Terry

    I thought suicide was one of the worst sins one could commit. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if the “church” was going to be upset about anything it would be if she had committed suicide rather than what her sexual orientation was?? Just my opinion.

    • Kaylee

      It said the gun went off while cleaning. They haven’t ruled out suicide but they don’t think it was.

  • chas

    it’s too bad that the family of a person who doesn’t attend church feels it necessary to have a funeral in a church! What did they do just drive down the street and find the first religious center? It’s a good thing they didn’t find an Islamic Center first!

  • Shelly Martellotta Campbell

    What a terrible thing to have done to the family and friends, that church should refund all of the money and there should be a large protest held in front of the church until a public apology is made, this is not how a Christian Church should act.I hope there are repercussions made to that awful prayers go out to to Christina and they’re daughters and all that loved Vanessa… R.I.P.