This service has had special meaning for me for many years. It is that not-often-found opportunity to share both my spirituality and sexuality in a safe space where those around me are doing the same. The service takes on even more meaning when the Bishop is preaching and presiding. Our shepherd is there with us and in many ways is "guiding and guarding" us. Such was clearly the case with the sermon preached by the Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of Atlanta, on the occasion of Integrity Atlanta’s 26th Annual Gay Pride Eucharist.
|Bishop Wright taking part in the Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage|
PHOTO CREDIT: Charles Wynder, Jr. Used with permission.
(C) Episcopal Divinity School. All rights reserved
He spoke of being appalled at a number of things, including the high rate of teen/youth suicide attempts and suicides related to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. His words touched my heart: one of my volunteer activities is with an organization that serves homeless LGBTQ teens and youth. Several times he moved me to tears, both with his words and the simple act of being with us, being "on our side," being present with our struggles.
Ours is not just a bishop of words. He is a bishop of action, having participated at demonstrations at our state capitol over unjust policies and bad legislation. He has blessed same gender relationships, doing so for a priest and her wife in the midst of her parish family and friends. (Of course they didn’t get married here. They had to go to a more enlightened state for that. Perhaps soon we will join civilization.)
I commend the words (and actions) of Bishop Wright to you. Listen to the entire sermon here.
Bruce Garner is Integrity's Province IV (Southeast) Coordinator. He has served as our president in the past, and has been a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.