Finding a spiritual home
Locating a house of worship that makes them feel welcome is difficult, but many gays say they are grateful when they do
[Hampton, VA: May 14, 2006 ] Sometimes acceptance shows itself in small ways. Every year, on or about July 1, the bulletin at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Hampton will note that the flowers for a particular service are in celebration of the anniversary of John Childers and Glenn Collie. That date marks the day they met in 2000, and the day of their commitment ceremony one year later in their home."
Just a little mention like that means so much," Collie says. "It's great to be recognized like that. Everyone should be recognized."
And they are recognized together."At the church," Childers says, "no one ever talks about 'John' or 'Glenn.' They talk about us together. It's always 'John and Glenn did this' or 'Where are John and Glenn?' We're a couple."
Childers and Collie - 45 and 46 years old, respectively - spent much of their adolescence and early adult lives struggling to reconcile their spiritual lives with a culture that depicted homosexuality as incompatible with Christian values. But in recent years, many religious people have re-examined the issue of homosexuality as it relates to church teachings, the ordination of ministers and rites of marriage.
Amid this shifting religious landscape, more and more gays and lesbians have found a spiritual home, even within denominations split on the gay issues. While some Episcopal churches are threatening to leave the denomination over the nomination of a gay bishop, Collie and Childers found a "home" at St. Mark's, a small church that has become recognized as a friendly place for gays and lesbians to worship.
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