By Patrick Wilson
© April 12, 2010
An Episcopal church in Virginia Beach is the only one in the region and one of two in the state to join a national group calling for full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church.
Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church on Laskin Road recently formed a chapter of the Episcopal group Integrity. Last month, the church's vestry also approved a statement called "Believe Out Loud" that welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in its congregation.
"Words are great, but you've got to put some action to the words," said the Rev. Chris Thompson, the rector at Eastern Shore Chapel. "The time was appropriate so we're going full speed ahead."
The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion of which it is a branch have faced internal division over homosexuality.
Acceptance is not new, however, for the Episcopal Church. In 1976, its General Convention passed a resolution saying gay and lesbian people are "children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church."
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