Spilling beyond the parade route, shaking hands, waving and dancing a sea of purple shirted volunteers, the St. Paul’s Cathedral contingent, made their way down University Avenue in the Pride parade.  The message was clear: God loves you, and this church supports the full inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. 

It was a particularly salient time for the message.  The Episcopal Church passed two resolutions this last week at General Convention.  The first declares that our ordination processes are open to all baptized Christians regardless of sexual orientation.  I was really inspired by my Bishop’s words on this one.  He framed them with a joke:

“Do you believe in infant baptism? Believe in it? I’ve seen it!” I too have seen and affirm the ministry of All who God calls to ministry.

The other resolution called for Bishops to exercise “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church” which basically means that more dioceses will allow for the blessing of same sex relationships.  I had the dubious honor of ending up in both the Washington Post and the Boston Globe talking about how I am “relieved” that I will be able to celebrate the unions of my gay friends when I’m ordained.

I am proud of The Episcopal Church this week.  I am especially proud to be a part of the church in San Diego which has worked so hard to keep everyone at the table while we move forward.  A lot of what I talked about in the interview with the Washington Post didn’t make it into the article.  I expressed frustration at some of the triumphalism exhibited by some of the more extreme advocates for LGBT people at convention.  The interviewer asked me at one point if I was relieved that so many of the conservatives had left the Episcopal Church.  I responded that I was saddened.  It is always sad when people choose to walk away.

I am also incredibly concerned that the actions the Church took will be characterized as attempts to break with the Anglican Communion.  Ian Douglas of Episcopal Divinity School and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, both characterized these two resolutions as very concerned with the future of the Communion.  Indeed they both include a great deal of language about desiring ongoing relationship.  Anderson and Douglas said that the resolutions were about being open and honest.  I think they are about coming out.

When an LGBT person comes out, they do so not to hurt the person who they are telling.  So many of my gay and lesbian friends’ parents asked the question: “How could you do this to us?”  Coming out is about wanting to be in a better relationship.  If I am going to truly be in relationship with someone, they have to know who I am.  If I hide a part of myself because that part is viewed as inconvenient or “messy,” than I am not bringing my whole self to the table.  The Episcopal Church essentially came out this General Convention.  I am proud.

Published by Mike Angell

The Rev. Mike Angell is rector of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in St. Louis.

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