Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Student's Marriage Equality Presentation Opens Eyes, Hearts

This spring St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach, VA hosted a special event for its parishioners, community and the Integrity Virginia Beach Chapter. Peter Dempsey, a senior at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, presented his senior project, "Gay Marriage – Laws, Rights and Facts."

Integrity Province III Coordinator Susan Pederson, Chapter
member Peter Dempsey, the Rev. Mark Wilkinson, Rector of
 St. Aiden's: Virginia Beach
Dempsey is Integrity Virginia Beach’s youngest member. As he worked on the project, he was mentored by Susan Pederson, a chapter member and Integrity's Province III Coordinator.

Peter is an active member of St. Aidan's. His parents, Sue and Bill Dempsey, are EYC leaders at the church. St. Aidan’s has welcomed Integrity Virginia Beach Chapter on several occasions,
hosting an Integrity Eucharist and a screening of  the Gene Robinson biopic Love Free or Die in 2013. The Rev. Mark Wilkinson, rector, and many parishioners were in attendance at Peter’s presentation.

Peter began his presentation by sharing that he was inspired to make same-gender marriage the topic of his senior project because some of his friends at school are gay. "I was teary at the start," said Peter’s mom Sue, "when he said, 'I want to be loved and accepted, everyone deserves it.'"

Peter did a terrific job of engaging the audience in his presentation, including some interactive exercises that really got people talking. Conversation continued long after Peter concluded his talk. "Peter did an excellent presentation with very sound arguments to support his position," said Sharon Metz, a member of St. Aidan’s. According to Peter’s teacher, he "blew it out of the water!"

The members and leadership of Integrity Virginia Beach are very proud of Peter and his work. We realize how vital it is to support and encourage our young adult members as they prepare to become our future advocates and leaders.

Ann Turner is Integrity's Diocesan Organizer for Southern Virginia and a member of the Virginia Beach chapter.  Her "day job" is Director of Communications for the Diocese.

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