Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Voices of Witness (part 4)

More transcription of the Voices of Witness video by Claiming the Blessing. The Google Video version can be found here.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Jane: (of CFLAG) The church needs to listen more prayerfully and more intently, not only to the gay and lesbian people in the church, but family members in the church, because there are so many of us, and we know a *lot* about this process. We've all been through it. We need to be speaking about our own experiences and talking about our family members, because as we come out, we can help others in the church see that this *is* incarnational.

Lori: We've actually had friends of ours who are straight couples with children say thank you to us, say thanks for being here. Thanks for teaching our kids that it's really about love and what you can offer each other. We're helping our straight friends raise their children with open minds and open hearts.

Jane: We don't do anything special--we just live our life. You know, we're just a family in a small little house, with a public library down the street and a public school around the corner and we're doing everything just like everyone else. We're just good neighbors, we just want to be good Christians and serve the church.

Kelly: My mother used to always say, "You'll meet a nice person in church one day" (laugh) and she was right. It just wasn't a woman. And she *loves* and adores Bill, which is wonderful.

Bill: We sat out on the balcony and it just came pouring out of both of us! Because we'd been waiting and waiting for this day, so we could say the things that had been in our hearts. And I told him "I love you and I want to be with you for the rest of my life, and I would love it if you would be with me on this journey of parenting, and Kelly said, what?

Kelly: Broke down and said the same thing. I said I feel the same way. I want to be with you and I want to be a parent with you and have a family and spend the rest of my life with you.

Bill: And, that's what we're doing!

Tymeri and Mary: The kids came to church with us for a couple of years before we had them baptized. We had wanted them to see other baptisms occur, so that they had some comfort with that. They would see some babies get baptized, they'd see some older people get baptized. And we talked to them a little bit along the way about baptism and what its meaning was--being part of the church, being included in the entire church family.

Anne: I was always hung up about gays as parents. Because I always thought, what do the kids say when their classmates say to them, "How come you have two moms and not a mom and a dad?" or "How come your father has a boyfriend?" or whatever. I always was hung up on that. I always thought gays could be gay, and that's just wonderful, but to have kids, bothered me. I didn't think it was fair to the children--I thought it was a stigma for the children.

There is a lesbian couple at our church, and they have these two big, strapping, great-looking kids, who love them to pieces. And they love their kids to pieces.

Mary: We practiced the part of the baptism all the way to church. We'd say, "I present" and then we'd say each of the kids' names. And trying to get our cadence right so we didn't sound really silly. (Laugh) But the kids we're kind of all "puffed up", they just knew it was a special day for them.

Anne: I was almost crying--I was so emotional. Because it was such a wonderful ceremony, and it was clear that the whole church was embracing them, and they were embracing the kids, the kids were embracing them. I just went up to them afterwards and said--I'm almost starting to cry--I said this is absolutely wonderful. This is just fabulous.

Mary: It kind of extended their family for them, knowing that besides just us, and besides their grandparents, and besides our brothers and sisters, their aunts and uncles, there was this huge network of people out there that were supporting us.

Anne: In the baptism ceremony, the parents stand with the children, and the priests, but the entire congregation takes part. So when they ask questions of the parents, "Will you raise these children in the following way", and so on and so on, they then turn to the parish, and they say to the parish, will *you* support these families, will you support these children? And every one of us takes an oath that we will support this family. And it just felt wonderful. It was just kind of the last vestige of some of the hangups that I grew up with just went away. Because I was affirming that I, Anne, would support these parents these children as lustily as I could. And I will.

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