An opera singer turned Uniting Church Minister says he was rejected by several Australian parishes because he was gay, before landing a role as Sydney’s first North Shore gay Minister.
Canadian-born Mr Liepold has been married to a United Church of Canada minister, Brian Nicholson, since 2003 and the couple have raised an adopted son together.
After several visits to Australia, he and Mr Nicholson decided to move here permanently.
Mr Nicholson is currently in Toronto seeing his tenure out as minister before he retires and joins Mr Liepold in Sydney in April.
Speaking with The Mosman Daily Mr Liepold said he was open about his same-sex relationship in his application to parishes.
“A couple of churches didn’t want me because I was gay — for some people these issues take time,” he said to The Mosman Daily.
“People need to get to know who I am, that I don’t have an agenda and my work is about the church — that is most important.”
But the Uniting Church at Neutral Bay on Sydney’s North Shore has welcomed him with open arms.
“The Neutral Bay congregation has been fantastic,” Mr Liepold said, adding he has not had one negative comment.
The parish had been struggling without a permanent minister for two years and has been delighted by Mr Liepold’s appointment to lead the historic church in Yeo St.
Initially trained as an opera singer, Mr Liepold has the added bonus of a beautiful tenor voice.
Mr Liepold was a minister in the United Church of Canada for 26 years.
Mr Liepold said he was proud of the Uniting Church’s commitment to social justice and inclusion.
“No one is judged when coming to church,” he said.
In response to religious opposition to homosexuality, Mr Liepold said simply: “We are all God’s children”.
Last Updated on Feb 20, 2016