June 26, 2013[Sermon from Sunday, June 30, 2013]
My dear friends in Christ,
By unanimous agreement of our staff clergy and our Vestry, I am honored to announce to you that same-sex marriages may be blessed and celebrated in the parish under the pastoral direction of the Bishop of San Diego as soon as California acts favorably on today’s decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
St. Margaret’s is in the blessing business. Our responsibility as the Church of God is to watch faithfully to learn God’s will together. To do that, we study Holy Scripture, the tradition, and the ongoing leadership of the Holy Spirit bearing fruit in the lives of the people of God. We find with St. Peter that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
The Episcopal Church has been studying and praying about human sexuality for three decades as it has worked to understand how God’s will for all people is being revealed in the present day. Clergy at St. Margaret’s have extended blessings to same-sex covenants for many years. Today’s court ruling means that our clergy can, at last, extend the protections and privileges of civil law as we bless and celebrate all people whose faithful, monogamous, and permanent relationships under God bind and strengthen our community.
Consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church, St. Margaret’s will begin celebrating same-sex marriage ceremonies using a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony approved in August 2012 by the Church at its General Convention. That approval allowed for the bishops who oversee each diocese within the Church to decide whether or not to allow the rite’s use or to allow celebration of same-sex marriage.
I’m proud of St. Margaret’s. Each of us has seen the steady hand and deep love of God in the lives of faithful same-sex couples in our congregation. It’s imperative that we stand today and tell the truth about the work of God we’ve seen right here. To that end, we are communicating this decision publicly and joyfully. God works in all of us more than we can ask or imagine.
On Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m., the St. Margaret’s Forum hosts a public conversation in the Church to discuss the immediate practical impact of the court’s rulings. The community is invited to join me with Congressman Raul Ruiz‘s District Director, Greg Rodriguez; Chris Heritage, an attorney prepared to discuss practical legal and health care issues; and a married and unmarried couple from the LGBT community; as we consider new questions of our common life.
I will have more to say about this in my sermon this Sunday, and look forward to seeing you then.
- WHEREAS we believe that Christ’s love and invitation to a holy life extend to all people;
- AND WHEREAS there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all … are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28);
- AND WHEREAS the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and there is no law against such things (Galatians 5:22-23);
- AND WHEREAS we discern the Fruit of the Spirit embodied in our own congregation and in the world among Godly and Loving Relationships defined by fidelity, monogamy, and permanence and not by sexuality;
- BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that it is the Policy of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church that administration of the Sacraments and Ceremonies of the Church, including Marriage and the Blessing of Relationships, shall be governed by the discernment of God’s grace;
- AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rector and Ministers designated by the Rector are authorized to officiate Marriage and offer Blessing for couples, regardless of their sexes, subject to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, the authority of the Bishop of San Diego, and applicable civil law.
St. Margaret’s In the News
- [VIDEO] CBS Local 2 News at 11, June 27, 2013
- [VIDEO] KMIR6 (“Church Helps Gay Couples Understand the Future of Prop 8 and DOMA Ruling,” June 27, 2013)
- [VIDEO] CBS Local 2 News at 5:30, June 26, 2013
- [VIDEO] KMIR6 (“Locals Celebrate Same Sex Marriage Rulings,” June 26, 2013)
- KESQ (“St. Margaret’s Readies to Host Same-Sex Weddings,” June 26, 2013)
- The Desert Sun (“Prop 8 and DOMA: Supporters plan celebrations, rallies,” June 25, 2013)
- The Desert Sun (“Palm Springs politicians, celebrities on Prop. 8, DOMA,” June 26, 2013)
- Episcopal News Service (“No longer ‘second-class citizens’,” June 26, 2013)
Responses to St. Margaret’s Announcement
- “I am so proud to be a member of St. Margaret’s. Thank you for sending out this email in support of gay marriage. My brother is gay and to know that my place of worship supports everyone’s right to love who they love just confirms that we made the right decision to make St. Margaret’s our family’s spiritual home.”
−Lauren Cadiz, Zach and Paige Roberts
- “Congrats for your speedy response to the DOMA ruling. That a church did that? Ab fab.”
- “I love our church! Missing you all, but have bought a home in Palm Desert so will see you in October.”
- “I am so proud and happy to be a part of St. Margaret’s because of the openness of the church to all people. You and we the people are following the Way Of Jesus of welcoming and including all.”
- “Thanks to you and Troy and our Vestry. We are so grateful to be part of Saint Margaret’s.”
−Judy Burton and Mary McKenzie
- “This is wonderful news. We as a family have always been proud of the stance that St. Margaret’s has taken in being so receptive and accepting of same-sex relationships, and this next step is the icing on the wedding cake! We are so excited for friends who now have this option to “seal the deal” on a loving, committed relationship that was perhaps lacking in this final blessing.”
- “As a heterosexual widow who has known the joy and practical side of marriage I am proud of all of you involved in taking this thoughtful position! Bless You all.”
- “Thanks for all your support re marriage equality.” −Paul Legvold
- “The resolution is wise and gracious.” −Julie Christian