Church Stuff-More or less

Does the church make sense or do we make it too hard for people to come in? I think yes and yes and the task then is to make it easier. Maybe for someone out there, this will be the case. I write as a Lutheran (or, perhaps a Lutherpalian) although I might seem out of the mainstream from time to time. That's okay, isn't it? Let's blog on.

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Location: Northport, Long Island, United States

Contrary to what Google will tell you, I have been blogging for several year, right here. Look for Churchstuff-moreorless. life was a hell of a lot easier when you could talk to someone to get help. Now, you can't do it on the telephone, you can't do it on the internet. Life was easier and made more sense because people actually cared. Now they will screw you as quickly as they will help you. Unfuck the world.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rite of Reception

Forty years ago, I was still in the Missouri Synod and spending the hot summer at St. Paul's/Bushwick with five or six other Bronxville schoolmates. The pastor was Richard Frank. I mention him because he was a gay pastor, and in 1970 one was not a publicly gay pastor, let alone a partnered gay pastor. Richard was single but he wasn't the only gay pastor in the area and often, on weekend nights there would be cocktail parties at one of their homes. In those days, because they were all closeted, these parties were their only opportunities for socializing together. Richard was also an alcoholic and I remain convinced, to this day, that prevailing thought in both church and society contributed to that problem. So, I was called upon to be his designated driver. When there was a party, Richard and I would get in his VW beetle and head off and, as far as I know, I would be the only straight person present. I only remember the name of one other person who would be there and, even though he is also dead, I don't mention his name because he was a prominent figure in the church. I stopped being the designated driver the night Richard hit on me on the way home.

I have known and worked with many gay pastors since those days and I have been able to get past that incident in the car with Richard and work in the church (and society) to help bring about the day when LGBT pastors not only need not live and work in a closet but can also enjoy the same rights and benefits of marriage like the rest of us. The Lutheran Church in which I serve has been trying to get past those days of repression and it hasn't been easy. But today, in San Francisco, a group of pastors will finally be recognized, and received, as partnered people who have faithfully served the church despite all of the obstacles that have been placed in their paths. Ironically, perhaps, this group is roughly the same size as those cocktail parties back in Brooklyn. Seven pastors are in this class-the Rev. Paul Brenner, the Rev. Jeff Johnson, the Rev. Craig Minich, the Rev. Dawn Roginski, the Rev. Megan Rohrer, and the Rev. Sharon Stalkfleet. The Rev. Ross Merkel will be reinstated to the roster. For our church, this is indeed an historic day. It is conceivable that, my good and dear friend,  the Rev. Michael Hiller would have also been included today but he could not wait for this day and transferred his service to the Episcopal Church a few years ago.

Recently, I came across this song and I posted it on my Facebook page in honor of Megan:
Bless you, my sister, bless you on your way
You have roads to roam before you're home
And winds to speak your name.

So go gently, my sister, let courage be your song
You have words to say in your own way
And stars to light your night.

And if you ever grow weary,
And your heart song has no refrain
Just remember we'll be waiting
To raise you up again.

And we'll bless you, our sister, bless you in our way
And we'll welcome home all life you've known
And softly speak your name.
And softly speak your name.
Bless you, our sister, bless you on your way.

(Blessing Song by Marsie Silvestro)

If necessary, let us all be ready to raise her (and others) up again because we still have work left to do until all are truly welcome in this church of ours.


Blogger John said...

The complete liturgy may be seen at

3:13 PM  

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