Sunday, May 3, 2015

I'm looking at you, Orlando

Most of the time here we are pretty happy with the direction of the Episcopal Church. Oh yeah, there are still issues (hello, women bishops, where are you? and what the heck is going on at General Theological Seminary?) Like any human institutions TEC can have a tin ear and a lead foot, too regularly. But frail and fallible as it is, things have been going mostly in the right direction.

But social media is doing a face palm over a facebook post by a man in Orlando whose infant son was scheduled for baptism in the Cathedral in Orlando, only to be called 3 days before and told, er, no.
The Dean shared there were members of the congregation who opposed Jack’s baptism and although he hoped to resolve the conflict, he was not yet able to (the Bishop of Central Florida, Greg Brewer, was also involved). After probing further the Dean said “the issue is with you and Eric being the first two men who will baptize their child at the Cathedral.” He offered his apologies and further explained this was a bigger deal because of the exposure that comes along with the baptism taking place at the Cathedral. In essence “this is not no forever, just not now.” Three days before our son was to be baptized he was turned away. At that moment, he was unwelcomed by the church, and denied his rite to be recognized as a Christian. I was speechless, angry, and heartbroken.
ExCUSE me? "members of the congregation" oppose baptism of an infant? Because, why, exactly? Go on, we're waiting.

And the Dean caved? We don't know more than that, but I'm sure we are all cynics enough to think the protestors have a large checkbook. I hope the Cathedral Deans I've known would have told the complainers to get over their fat selves and proceeded on schedule with the service. In fact I know  they would have.

The original poster behaves in a far more Christian way than many of us would. Later word is that the Bishop says he did NOT block the baptism and is seeking a way forward.

But this is a shameful act that shows TEC has yet to attain the position it claims to have reached.  Listen, when you say all are welcome, well, all means ALL.


JCF said...

Oy Vey. Kyrie eleison.

PseudoPiskie said...

Central Florida is extremely conservative. They came very close to schism under, I believe, BP Howe. This is tragic. Perhaps the current bishop really doesn't represent Christ because he is already judge? Why do so many men seriously believe they have the right to judge?

James said...

"members of the congregation" oppose baptism of an infant

Yes. Why not?

The church is not the guys who ponce around in women's clothing at the front, it's the whole shebang. The Anglican baptism liturgy makes this explicit - the congregation is asked to support the candidate in their spiritual formation.

It is sad - desperately sad - that a congregation would refuse to do so*, but there's a reasonable case that it's better to refuse than to make a promise you have no intention of keeping.

JCF said...

James, I hear what you're saying re sacramental *marriage* of a same-sex couple (if the congregation has no intention of supporting the couple in their vows), but this is the baptism of a child! How would the relationship of the parents ("Tsk, tsk, we disapprove of Teh Gay!") affect whether or not to support the CHILD's life in Christ?!