A week after the pain of the election that passed Prop 8, the Episcopal Cathedral of San Diego offered a weekday night ecumenical healing service. My Beloved the Roman Catholic trekked down to the city to attend, along with a friend of ours, also lesbian, who has been searching for a faith home. (I was out of town.) Lots of different groups there, lots of people in the pews. BP commented that it was quite an amazing experience, to be asked to rise as a married gay person to receive a blessing openly in a church. Our friend was also quite moved.
Then last weekend at the large march through San Diego, the cathedral folk marched with us, with a large banner of support. Meanwhile, BP has found attending her RC church increasingly difficult, because of the Catholic support for Prop8 and all the dreck that entailed before and after.
This morning, BP said that she wanted to go to Mass at the Episcopal Cathedral. My wife, the cradle Roman Catholic, folk choir member, faithful (and faith-filled) parishioner, suggested driving all the way to downtown San Diego for this purpose. I offered to go with her and she accepted immediately. (The Cathedral has a terrific music program: the offertory with Handel on the awesome organ? The wonderful classical polyphony from the choir? I'm totally there for the aural aesthetics.) So we went to Mass, in an inclusive community where we could walk in holding hands, where as BP commented, she didn't have to be worried about hiding anything about herself, or steel herself against the chance the homilist would make some hurtful remark. The high-church sung Eucharist was close enough to the familiar Catholic liturgy that she didn't feel lost (even I, the ex-Catholic, knew most of the words) and the welcome was palpable. I could feel her relax into it, and we both enjoyed it in our own ways.
This is not to say that BP has left her Catholic church. This was one visit. While I suspect we will be back to the Cathedral pretty soon, there are a lot of issues and emotions that she has to process to figure out where her place is. That won't happen in a minute. And don't get all excited about me, you lot; I still don't believe in God, but I do love my wife and i do like good choral music. (Some of you may know that it has been my nefarious scheme for years to get her to "try out" the Episcopal church given the RC view of our relationship, which has led to my long participation as your token atheist in the Episcopal blogosphere ;-)
Oh, and that friend of ours? She was there today too, with her two daughters, and has already signed up to volunteer for something.
I'll let our Fr Terry figure out what this says about Evangelism.