Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Anniversary to me....

Yesterday was the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. As of today, I 've been a priest for 37 years and one day. Astonishing....

I wouldn't even remember May 15 except that this remarkable man, Louie Crew, always sends me an email on my ordination anniversary. He also sends an email for my birthday. I would remember my birthday without Louie's email, but it warms my heart anyway.

Louie is a reasonably big deal in the Episcopal Church. He founded Integrity--a group for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered Episcopalians 'and their friends'. The 'and their friends' piece is wondrous and vital. I was, for quite a few years when I served St. Paul's in New Haven and St. John's in Waterbury, the chaplain to an Integrity chapter. It was an honor and humbling as a straight priest to serve the LGBT community.

I once blessed a home of Ted and Lou, who met in high school and had been faithful to each other for over 40 years after that. They wanted me to bless them and their relationship as well. This was long before same sex marriages or even civil unions in Connecticut. My bishop at the time knew I was committed to same sex relationships and told me, after I visited him and told him I would bless a lesbian/gay couple if I asked to 'let him know' before the fact so he wouldn't 'read about it'. I called him about Ted and Lou and he 'inhibited' me (what a Medieval term!) from doing it. There was a retired priest who was a member of the parish I served who agreed to do the blessing of the union. "What are they going to do to me?" he said, "cancel my pension?" So we did it that way. I blessed the rooms of that home and Jack blessed Ted and Lou. One of the few things I regret in my 37 years as a priest is that I didn't bless the love and relationship of Ted and Lou.

My bishop now has allowed me to do gay/lesbian marriages since they are legal in Connecticut. The bishop before him allowed me to bless the marriage but not sign the marriage licence. So the same sex marriages I have done have all had a Justice of the Peace presence to sign the license. How humiliated I felt in those situations, not being able to say "you are married" to those couples. Now, at least in Connecticut. I can fully participate in the marriage of same-sex couples.

It has been a journey. And things are looking up and positive. More and more states are legalising marriage equality. Things might be just becoming right at last.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.