The church was Paul Jentz’s home, his passion, and his profession. The congregation was his family. When Paul came out, he lost all of it. Amanda Schulz was in college and never saw him again. 20 years later, they reunited — at Chef & Song.

Around town, Paul Jentz is the guy with the camera. In his words “I bring my camera with me everywhere I go and document social, charitable, athletic, political, artistic events.” Long before Youth First TX honored him an LGBT hero for his role as the “community archivist” he was an associate pastor at a church in DeSoto, Texas.

Amanda Schulz is a Realtor with a law degree. She’s an urban gardner, historic preservationist, community activist, and a full-time wife and mom. But when she first knew Paul, she was Amanda Tenpenny — a teenager in his congregation. Her parents were church founders.


Paul Jentz: 

“I remember telling my kids, in the high school Bible class, that when you find something you really love and you actually get to do it, then it’s not work.”

Paul talks about his life as a pastor.


Amanda Schulz:

“Everyone had a sense of connectedness with him.”

Amanda remembers Paul as her pastor.


Paul:

“In justice issues, she was very, very strong in what she thought was right, and what she thought was wrong.”

Paul remembers Amanda.


Paul:

“I left the church. As a person of integrity, I feel it’s important to be honest with yourself, with God, and with others.”

Paul talks about his decision to leave his church.


Amanda:

“There wasn’t anything that changed my opinion of who he had been in terms of my relationship with him.”

Amanda recalls how she felt after hearing Paul left the church.


Paul:

“They sent out a letter to all the members of the congregation basically saying do not initiate further contact with Pastor Paul.”

Paul talks about the aftermath of leaving the church and coming out.


 Paul:

“Joanna Tenpenny coming up to me in church, making a point of making sure that I knew that I was loved by her and her family — that made up for everything.”

A church founder reaches out to Paul — Amanda’s mother.


Amanda:

“Nathaniel, immediately, from the point we met Paul in the parking lot, he said: ‘Mom, can I sit next to Paul tonight, at dinner, instead of you?’”

Amanda shares a table, with Paul and her own family, at Chef & Song.


Paul:

“It was awesome. One, to be able to catch up with her as a person. But, also (kinda) to be able to reconnect with my past.”

Paul shares a table with Amanda’s family at Chef & Song.


Amanda:

“I just think that, if you do believe in God — what an amazing testimony. Someone who is actually carrying out something that the Bible teaches, which is loving and taking care of those around you.”

Amanda recalls a conversation about a mutual friend.


Paul: 

“Spending time with Amanda helped me to understand better (and more) that people are loving.”



Written by Ron Thompson
My passion is exploring this crossover culture of food and stage — the people who create it, love it, revel in it, and use it to make where we live a better place to be. Find Chef & Song on Facebook