Part of our history as a parish has been to be on the cutting edge of social change—whether it was racial integration, the role of women in Church leadership, or the full inclusion of all people in the Church, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. On March 17 our parish will take another step in that tradition. While not every congregation may be called to offer this expression of God’s inclusive love, this is our vocation at this time.
If God calls the People of God to bear witness in a given time, God provides the voice, the leaders, and the strength. St. Stephen’s, the Diocese of Texas and the Episcopal Church have nothing to fear from those who disagree with our ministry. We have everything to lose if we fail to exercise our call because of fear. We are ready to take this step—even if people picket or disrupt the proceedings. I really doubt that this will happen, but we have trained leaders who are prepared to address these issues if they arise.
Now, some in our body may be nervous that this momentous event is happening during Lent. While it is not the custom of our parish to offer marriage during this season, it is always our habit to offer the sacrament of new life on Sundays! Sundays are always observances of resurrected life and on the 17th we will certainly be honoring God’s action in Jesus of bringing life out of death.
The celebration of Gary and Jeff’s commitment is certainly a momentous event in their lives. But it is no less in ours. One of the blessings of this new rite is its insistence that human love is nourished and sustained by and in community. We are for one another, just as in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself. We witness to that power, love, and vocation.
For the full Press Release, click here.