St. Thomas Church has long been a parish where people with concerns for issues of social justice have found nurture and voice. In the 1960s and 70s, for example, our church was pivotal in Denver’s struggle for civil rights, fair housing, and school desegregation. We have been a meeting place for Integrity, the Episcopal advocacy group for lesbian and gay issues, off and on for nearly thirty years. Today, we are proud to be a church where GLBTQ persons naturally find full participation in parish life.
Some years ago, several members of the parish found the Episcopal Church’s unwillingness to offer full inclusion in the sacramental life of the church—that is, in marriage and ordination, at least in this diocese—a grievous fault. They brought this resolution to our annual meeting in 2008. Bringing this resolution to our annual meeting required many hours of discussion, heartfelt examination of ideas, and passionate sharing of life stories, and while members of our parish have many viewpoints, we unified behind this effort.
Several years of hard work followed. Our rector, the Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, has facilitated difficult discussions in parishes throughout the diocese as a parish consultant, chaplain to our diocesan delegation to General Convention, and member of the Bishop’s Task Forces on the issue. In 2009, the bishop opened the ordination process to gays and lesbians, and in 2011, he made available a liturgy of blessing for same gender couples.
Meanwhile, the national church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has developed materials for same gender blessings (again with Rev. Ruth’s participation) which are likely to be available after 2012’s General Convention. We at St. Thomas welcome this news with great celebration and thanks.
Today, whether you are lesbian, gay, or any other sexual orientation, you are one of us at St. Thomas. If you know that God
constantly calls us to new challenges and insights, and scripture calls us to
both justice and mercy, we are on the same path. Come celebrate with us.