Sunday, November 23, 2008

A trip to the Cathedral

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.


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Joy from all 3 of you, is what this is! Be good! and stay joyful!

Frank Remkiewicz aka “Tree” said...

IT simply means knock and the door shall be opened, ask and it shall be given; seek and you will find.

It also means (as in the old hymn) All are welcome!

Joy and peace be with you all!

Bill Carroll said...

If you've never seen it, you should see the Cathedral decked out for Pride. There are usually huge rainbow banners etc. Usually, the Integrity chapter passes out bottles of water and have information about the congregation and its ministries. The Cathedral is right along the parade route, I believe.

My sister used to live in Hillcrest, and one summer we stayed in her apartment, right in the middle of Pride. I took our daughter to the 7-11 for a slurpee one morning, the morning of the parade. Her eyes got really big and she said, "Daddy, who are all these people?" I said, "They're dressed up for the parade." There were a few gay and lesbian cops in there as well.

Our daughter has since known many same sex couples, and for her, this will never not have been part of her world view. This is why I know that Prop 8 will eventually fail.

David said...

Yes, as I hope Fr. T emphasizes, this is evangelism in the best sense of the word.

Heck, even I'd be willing to adopt the term "evangelical" if it was clear it meant this sort of thing ;)

Amie said...


I think it is time that we reclaimed the term "evangelical" not adpot it. For too long we have let others redefine some of our terms and then abandoned those terms in their new meaning. It is time that we said - no more.

I claim to be evangelical - I am out on the streets (okay, actually the local coffee shops) daily trying to be a witness to the gospel. I am also trying with a little success to get my parishioners to reclaim the term and do the same.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Leonard said...

There is a special treat and tribute for The Friends of Jake at my Blog...please collect your little Thanksgiving AWARD!

Fran said...

A beautiful and moving post, IT.

Your BP will know what to do and when. It is hard, I don't know her, but I know my own attachments and how hard it is to change them. That is not to make it out to any simplistic following, it is much more complicated than that.

I think that one of the reasons that I stay is that I am in a parish and in general a diocese, where one does not hear hateful, hurtful sermons.

That in no way covers for all the painful words uttered from pulpits elsewhere and then the despicable prop 8.

I liked reading this. Who knows what will be. That truly is evangelizing, a way-showing, a light shining on a path.

That is why for those who believe, it is not that we find the way to Jesus, as Jesus is in fact the way. Simple words that are hard to work out.

Go,love, listen, love, sing, love, hold hands, love, be alive. No matter what one believes, I believe this- those things matter.

Thank you for sharing this IT.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

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

And we are very grateful for your presence among us, IT. Peace to you and to your beloved. I hope she can find a place that feels like home to her. She is blessed to have such a supportive spouse.


Anonymous said...

Thank you all for kind words, and thank you Leonardo, for the award!


Anonymous said...

I still don't believe in God, but I do love my wife

Well then, you're already half-way there, IT (51% with the liking "good choral music").

The Hound of Heaven (Rescue Newfie? ;-)) is infinitely patient AND persistent! :-D

James said...

IT, you liked the music, she liked the liturgy. Now, when I tutored mathmatecs, we learned taht 50% + 50% is 100%. So, you are both now Episcopalians. :)

I'm really glad it was such a positive experience for "our" BP.

One's first experience with the Episcopal Church really should be in a cathedral or very large church with great music and superbly acted liturgical drama.

Counterlight said...

I've always thought of the Episcopal Church as the Ms. Liberty of Christendom, Mother of Immigrants. "Send these the wretched refuse of your teaming shore/ I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."

And I'm an immigrant into this church, the "wretched refuse" as well.

Anonymous said...

Counterlight, you just made me cry. How right you are!

IT, having followed your and BP's story for so long, I am thrilled to hear that the two of you, hand in hand, still newlyweds, found some joy and sustenance in the Episcopal Cathedral.

After all, you have been bringing us joy and sustenance for a long time!

It is enough if you liked the music.

Love to both of you.

Wow! My verification word is 'beatized'. This comment has been specially blessed!

Andrewdb said...

Try to get her to sign up for the Rome to Canterbury sessions the Cathedral offers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks andrewdb, I will tell her. (I don't know if she's quite there yet....)