My confirmation yesterday went well. The church was packed, the Bishop gracious, the New Members’ Ministry staff supportive and encouraging. Mostly the morning went by in a blur. Many people hugging me, shaking my hand, welcoming and congratulating me.
My partner Wes was beaming proudly, which was a little odd since he doesn’t hold a high opinion of Christianity in general (very understandable, considering his history.) He even took communion, which really surprised me. I’m still not quite sure what to make of that, but am happy that he was standing beside me for the Eucharist. Heck, i'm a little surprised he insisted on attending at all!
If someone had asked me even five years ago if i’d ever return to church, they’d have received an angry bitter diatribe in response. Yet here i am, calling myself a Christian, having opened my heart to the church again. I never felt that God had turned away from me, just the institution his people created. But now, the bitterness is (mostly!) melted away.
Wes commented after the service that he’d never seen a group of church people who were filled with such genuine love and respect for each other. “They positively glow!” he whispered to me. “Yes, they do,” i replied, looking around with wonder at the people I’ve only begun to know over the past 7 months.
About 20 people were confirmed, received, or reaffirmed at St. Michael's yesterday. At least five of these were LGBT, including a charming lesbian couple. The oldest confirmand was in his nineties, the youngest in her twenties. One of my fellow confirmands was a young mother who is deaf, welcomed into our parish by congregants who provide a committed ministry for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Our conservative Windsor Bishop was warm and welcoming to all. And yes, he knows for certain that several of us are LGBT. I felt his pastoral presence wrapped around me in a most genuine way as i knelt and he first took my hands is his, then anointed me with chrism, and blessed me. The hands of my beloved, my friends, and members of the parish clergy and New Members’ ministry joined with his, and I felt surrounded by God’s grace & love. Truly amazing.