Monday, March 12, 2007

Same-sex solidarity brings end to weddings: Grace Church in Massachusetts Draws a Line in the Sand

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 8:05 pm

Declaring a ‘holy fast,’ Grace Episcopal Church has decided to stop performing all wedding ceremonies because its bishops bar the blessing of same-sex unions.’We are called to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives,’ said the church’s rector, the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, in his sermon Sunday.The worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, has been splitting apart over this issue and the election of a gay bishop. Hirschfeld said he knows of no other Episcopal church that has taken the step of abstaining from all weddings.’Gays and lesbians are the church, as much, if not more, as I am as a straight white man,’ he said in his sermon. ‘But this sacrament, and the grace it is meant to convey, is not available to them.’

The reaction of members of the congregation was largely positive at discussions with Hirschfeld after Sunday’s two services. Some members expressed concern that the move might be polarizing, while others said they regretted that people who grew up in the church can’t get married there.For some, the news was clearly emotional. Erica Winter, of Northampton, holding her baby and introducing her wife, said working for social justice often involves giving up something.

‘Thank you for seeing me,’ she said through her tears. ‘This makes me feel visible and means so much to me.’Nina Scott, of Amherst, was also moved to tears. ‘I’m so proud to be a part of this,’ she said. ‘It’s a step that needs to be taken.’

Read it all.

Update: check out the sermons here and there.


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