Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Putting the 'pal' in Episcopal


This was the welcome one of our church friends gave us a few weeks ago. Partner, Kid, and I go to the local Episcopal church in Wake Forest, and a couple of weeks ago the church as a whole moved to affirm its acceptance of gay folks.

Bishops at the general convention voted 99-45 to declare “God has called and may call” to ministry gays in committed lifelong relationships.

The Episcopal Church is basically the American version of the Anglican church, and ever since the Episcopalians confirmed the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003, there's been a big pushback from the Anglican church and conservatives in the Episcopal church to cut support for the LGBT community.

And unlike most other mainstream American churches, they haven't.

We joined the Episcopal church six years ago to provide symbolic support for an organized religious body that supported us as gay people. (Well, OK, we also liked the minister, and the people were very welcoming and supportive of us, happily adopting us as the church's token gay couple. We then promptly reaffirmed stereotypes by showing up everyone else when we hosted the after-service coffee hour with a wide selection of foods, including vegetable bouquets!)

The Episcopalians at the convention also voted to bless same-sex unions and research an official prayer for the ceremonies.

Our local church was thrilled with our adoption of Kid, and they were also eager to celebrate us during service with an official adoption ritual.

Many gay people have a mixed, if not negative, association with religion, and yet in America it is such an intrinsic part of our culture and life. It's nice - actually thrilling - to have one major body moving towards inclusivity and equality, even as others struggle with such basic ideas.

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