Needless to say, it's "deja vu all over again" for me as a United Church of Canada minister of more than three decades. I had seminary classmates who were the first to be open about their sexual orientation and I watched as our denomination was battered by the controversies around ordination and same-gender unions. I went through my own major shift in outlook about what is faithful and have now worked with a number of gay and lesbian staff in different congregations whose commitment and Christian spirituality is beyond question. I wonder why we ever chose to be so condemning and exclusive.
One of the situations in the States which caught my attention is of an elderly retired minister in Dallas, Texas, who defied United Methodist law to marry a gay couple. William McElvaney is 85, and both men of the couple are in their eighties. They have been together for 53 years and are longtime members of their congregation. Fifty three years of commitment without benefit of society's blessing, but their wedding was attended by more than 200. Is this not impressive regardless of how one feels about same-gender marriage? McElvaney, a former seminary president has no idea whether he will be disciplined for his act of sedition and doesn't seem too worried. He has liver cancer and underwent radiation three days before the wedding.
Have you been following this trend out of the United States? Were you aware of this particular story? What are your thoughts?