Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"A Day Without Gays" Comes to All Saints Church

If you haven't already heard, today -- December 10th -- was designated "Day Without a Gay Day." Described in USA Today as "Gay employees urged to skip work, volunteer" I thought it not-a-bad-idea, but nothing that was going to have any direct impact on my own personal December 10th.

And then -- yesterday afternoon -- my phone rang, and it was a young man named Jamie ... planning to "call in gay today" and looking for a place to volunteer!

He said he decided to call All Saints because we were in the forefront of the No on 8 campaign and he wanted to give something back to a church that stood up to the religious voices sponsoring discrimination.

As luck (karma, the Holy Spirit or serendipity) would have it, today is the day we celebrate volunteers here at All Saints Church with the annual "Shrimp Party" and so I had our volunteer coordinator give Jamie a call and he showed up at 10am sharp and helped decorate tables, set up cheese platters and generally make the party happen.

And he's coming back ... on Sunday to the 11:15 service ... with his husband.

So instead of a day-without-a-gay, December 10th turned into "bringing in the sheaves" at All Saints Church ... and yet-another one of those "who knew there was a church like this down the block!" moments.

Here's Jamie with me and Santa ... and may I just say, in closing (which of course I can, since this is my blog!) that we would be a lot better off as a church if we spent just a LITTLE more time focusing on who will COME to us because of the inclusive love of God in Christ Jesus proclaimed by our work and by our witness and a LOT less time focusing on those who think we're going to hell in a hand-basket.

And we don't need to wait for the next "Day Without a Gay" Day to do it!


Brian R said...

Thank God for your church and diocese's witness to true Christian love. I pray that God's work in James and his husband through you continues.
Quite the reverse here where our Diocese Standing Committee has just welcomed the "new province" in North America. It makes it hard to continue to attend even if my church is one of the few in the diocese which is welcoming of all regardless of sexuality.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

That wasn't so much "bringing in the sheaves" as "bringing in the shrimp."

Sorry. Can't help myself. I'm absolutely punchy from all the quiet, contemplative "down" time of Advent.

(Yeah, right.)

Fran said...

That is great! Good for Jamie and good for you all for finding him a place at the table... both to help at and to eat at!

Your church seems amazing and I hope to visit next time I am in LA... whenever that may be.

JCF said...

Heh: is this bringing together one thing "God Hates", shrimp, w/ another? ;-p

Seriously: TBTG!

[Prayers for you, BrianR---hang in there!]

SCG said...

Awesome! You are absolutely right about what will bring people in. If you provide the "outward and visible signs" to those on the outside, then those who have felt "on the outs" will come in. I hope Jamie and his husband do come back...and I hope they will discover the God of love. "Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God." Good work.

Jennifer said...

Amen! Our reconciling Methodist congregation offered up space and a few opportunities for volunteering today as well...though I must selfishly admit that I mostly wanted to get people in the door long enough to make them feel welcome and to encourage them to come back Sunday!

Kirstin said...

That's a fantastic story.

Welcome, Jamie! :-)

susankay said...

Great tale -- but I'm really posting because the cryptic word is "comic" and I found it too funny

planet trans said...

You brought tears of joy to my eyes. God Bless you!

Muthah+ said...

Brian, even tho your diocese may be out of whack, support your congregation. They need it. It is hard to be welcoming when the diocesan climate is not.

Susan, I love the story of the fellow who found you because of your stance. We, in my little Lutheran parish in a wee little town in upstate NY are beginning to get some gay couples because we are the only welcoming church in town--the Episcopal Church is not.