Thursday, October 23, 2008

"We're . . . modern-day lepers"

Elizabeth Bennett, left, and Sara Luther look over some of the many African items they collect and sell. As a gay Christian, Bennett says she is trying "to create discussion and change." (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post )

By Electa Draper
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 10/22/2008 10:50:56 PM MDT

Elizabeth Bennett sits in her Denver church contemplating the elephant in the sanctuary that few polite Episcopalians want to mention.

Bennett grew up in the Episcopal church. She sang in the choir. She was married in one and baptized her five children there. Her mother's ashes are buried under a tree outside an Episcopal church in Massachusetts.

But being openly gay now in the Colorado diocese, she says, is like being given "half-a-loaf acceptance."

Gays are offered some sacraments but not others.

"I've gotten mine. But this is wrong — to go to church, have potlucks and not care about other people's rights," said Bennett, 59.

And, she said, the pain of partial acceptance is the pain of rejection.

"There are places in our lives where we truly want to be loved," Bennett said.

The church's hope is that a moratorium on blessing gay unions and ordaining openly gay priests — "passionate patience" — will help hold the fracturing American church together and keep it part of the larger, less liberal international Anglican Communion.

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