Lydia Merdith, Former First Lady Of Tabernacle Baptist Church Tell All In Book On Being Married To Gay Man-Son Coming Out Of The Closet and HIV Status-Possible Reality Show And More!

Posted on April 27, 2017

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Everything Is Going Down, But The Word Of God……I was one of those preachers’ wives who sat in the pew on many a Sunday morning while my “real” life was a fraud. I discovered several years into my marriage that my husband was cheating on me–with men–numerous men. (And women too, I later found out). But I stayed. I stayed through the broken promises and the humiliation because I believed and hoped that things got better. I watched my husband stand in that pulpit on Sunday morning, preaching one message and living out yet another. I needed answers.
The first place I turned to for answers were God. I prayed. I wept. I prayed. I wept. I prayed and I wept. God woke me at 3 a.m. I sat straight up in the middle of my bed. … What did Jesus really say about homosexuality? What was Jesus’ message about gays?
I prayed my entire young life for God to send me a husband–God Always answers my prayers–why did I end up marrying a gay man? 
This excerpt is taken from a book written by Lydia Meredith who spent nearly 30 years of her life married to Reverend Dennis A. Meredith. In Meredith’s deeply personal memoir, The Gay Preacher’s Wife: How My Gay Husband Deconstructed My Life and Reconstructed My Faith, readers will find out how a woman’s broken heart is mended by faith.

The Merdiths story is one that I know well.  We are all from Oakland, California where Dennis Merdith was the pastor of Mt. Calvary Missionay Baptist Church on 23rd Avenue.  The model black first family, handsome pastor with the beautiful wife that could sing and their three boys.  Meredith opened up for for interviews, some stories are difficult to report when you know the subjects well, I found it strange that Lydia seemed tolerate Dennis bullcrap and always got the short end of the stick. I was familiar with the recent and highly publicized scandal at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church where their leader Bishop Eddie Long in 2010 was accused in a lawsuit of buying young men lavish gifts and cars, and giving them money in exchange for sex.

But her story was no mystery to me. It wasn’t that I doubted her credibility. It was more of a shock that she was so gracious to a man who betrayed her and her family, and she kept quiet.  Dennis began to transform before our very eyes in Oakland.  He got braces, cut his George Jefferson like Afro that he loosing to go bald, and began to workout.  Rumors were all over the Bay Area that Dennis was riding a motorcycle with no shirt and hanging in San Francisco.  In those early days he was still very much a PJD (Pineapple Juice Drinker Obnoxious Media’s word for on the Down Low) and living a double life.  Now rumor had it that the Merdiths left Mt. Calvery in the mist of scandal, but Dennis during a past interview said that was not true.  
The pastor later resurfaced in Atlanta, which might just have been the worst thing that could have ever happened to this family.  Dennis began the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church after some major issues with substance abuse of their former pastor now bishop, Quincey Lavell Carswell.  After some years of great effort Dennis was able to revive Tabernacle, but some things strange was happening with the congregation.  More and more openly gay people began to join the church and more rumors were surfacing about Dennis until it became common knowledge he was sexing men more then his wife.

“I loved my husband … I still love him,” she tells me as I stare in amazement.
In 2006, Rev. Meredith told Lydia he was in love with another man. “He left me for another man. He told me he wanted to live the rest of his life as a gay man,” she shares. “At that time, I didn’t know he was in a relationship with a man, a man that he’d fallen in love with. Most of the time when we were in therapy discussing his struggles with same-sex relationships, it was never a relationship; it was always [just] sex. This particular time it was very different. He had fallen in love with a man.”
Dennis first began his journey to coming out by telling his congregation he was molested as a child and had been sexually active with men and women.  In fact he told his church he was bi-sexual.  Funny how it seems bi-sexual is easier for people to except than just saying you are gay.  

It was a revelation that was years in the making. Lydia knew of her husband’s infidelity and bisexuality, but it wasn’t enough to make her leave him and break up her family.
The infidelity alone wasn’t enough to make her leave her husband. Lydia wanted her marriage to survive the infidelity. It wasn’t until he left her from 2005 to 2008 that she filed for divorce. He had abandoned her. She was left with no other choice but to wake up and start a new journey. “I filed for divorce. He wasn’t happy about it. The infidelity didn’t cause me to leave my marriage. I felt there was nothing in my marriage that couldn’t be fixed.”
I had in fact interviewed Dennis after he came out so strong aganist Eddie Long, I realized Dennis was solid individual with a profound understanding of the teachings of the Bible, but did the easy thing to live a lie, he was gay yur hold time and tried to hide with a wife and children.  No way Dennis could be gay he is so masculine and married with children.  However, he shared with me how he traveled and preached for so many men that was just like him.  Many of his engagements were nothing, but sexual hookups all over the country at the expense of the churches he visited.  Dennis developed a reputation to know what to do in the bedroom and being who he was and looking the way he did many guys wanted their opportunity to sex Pastor Merdith and it did not seem he had a problem giving the boys what they wanted.  Dennis in conclusion deserves a great deal of respect for being honest and condemning him is not our goal.

Lydia, who has managed to step outside the box of pain and see things from a different perspective rooted in love, says she is telling her story not only for women, but also for men: “to inspire people to walk in truth and lead to a deeper understanding and loving relationship with God.”
Perhaps it was the threat of a past church employee that Dennis Merdith was forced to come out of the closet or it may have just been that he stood on his convictions.  However, it is amazing that he is carsmatic enough leader to have held his church throughout all of his life transformations.  Now he has a first gentleman and a gay church.  A few years back at the Rythem Of Gospel Awards Dennis shared at the pastors appreaction gala tha he lost all his friends after he came out.  He testified that his greatest opposition was from all the men that were just like him, but choose to continue to live a lie.

I trusted my husband,” Lydia Meredith reveals during an interview to promote her book. She recently penned a deeply personal memoir, The Gay Preacher’s Wife: How My Gay Husband Deconstructed My Life and Reconstructed My Faith.

 Lydia was married to the Rev. Dennis A. Meredith, who is now an openly gay pastor and leading a congregation of over 1K members —predominantly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. She and the pastor divorced in 2008, but remain close friends despite the fact that they struggled with his infidelity during their marriage.
“I want to share some topics that I feel need to be addressed for women who find themselves in situations like I found myself in and to help them and to show them they can get through it,” said Meredith, who admits it has taken years for her to heal since her husband abandoned her and left her for a man.
“I wasn’t paying attention because I am a recovering workaholic,” she defends. Lydia lived in a state of denial even though her husband was arrested for soliciting sex with a man, and sought a fellow minister to bail him out, never calling her.
Lydia wears many hats. She is the founder of Beacon of Hope Inc. – Renaissance Learning Center, with a mission to strengthen families and communities and lift poor children and their families out of poverty. Lydia has master degrees in business, Christian education, and public policy from Vanderbilt University, The Interdenominational Theological Center, and Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, respectively.
When asked if she missed all the signs that her former husband is gay, she said, “Yes, I miss[ed] them. I am not a tracker. There are some women who are investigators, who will pick up the phone if their [mate] is not home at a certain time and if they are not calling. That’s a problem. I am a professional woman working as a senior engineer for a Fortune 500 company. I was living my life, married with three children.”
While she was living her life, she also missed the signs that her middle son, who was the minister of music at the church where his father ministers, is also gay and came out to the church and revealed his HIV status.

Lydia emphasizes, “The church needs a new kind of ministry–one steeped in the ministry started by Jesus–free of bias, discrimination, hate or prejudice.
Now The Merdiths lives might be seen by the world due to Mark Couch working to produce a reality show about the dysfunctional first family.  In the long run no one seems to have gotten what they wanted except for Dennis even at the cost of destroying his family.

Lydia Meredith is the founder of Beacon of Hope, Inc.—Renaissance Learning Center, with a mission to strengthen families and communities and lift poor children and their families out of poverty.