Comments: American press reports

I attended the ordination of the Rev. Barry Stopfel to the priesthood in the Diocese of Newark in 1991 (IIRC, Barry was only the second publically-out ordinand at that time).

The moment that stands out in my memory, was at the liturgically-set "objection" moment. An old guy tottered forward, and everyone held their breaths---but I don't think anyone was prepared for what followed. The man begin screaming sexual epithets at the top of his lungs. I don't think any XXX porn site could have competed w/ his language. It was dumb-founding.*

What saved it all was the response of those who knew and loved Barry. First, Barry's partner (an ordained minister of another church) physically interjected himself _directly in front of_ the foul-mouthed accuser. It was like he was taking all of this putrid slime onto himself, in a symbolic effort to protect his beloved. He said nothing, he just stood there and took it. Then the congregation (Tenafly NJ) began to softly sing "Peace is Flowing like a River". It never grew loud, yet the murmured harmonies effectively drowned out the accuser's disgusting language w/ sweet peace. It was truly an Easter moment, where you could see and hear death transformed into Life. I've never forgotten it.

I pray that Gene's consecration sees none of the ugliness that I saw in 1991---that those who passionately disagree w/ his consecration do so w/ love for Gene as a person. I pray that the majority who come to *celebrate* Gene's new episcopal ministry do so w/ respect and forbearance for our opponents. Most of all, I pray that, throughout the Anglican Communion, peace _will_ flow like a river: the Peace of Christ, forgiving all our sins, binding all our wounds.

*The type of excremental performance which, I've heard, tends to have exactly the _opposite_ effect on the undecided, than that intended by the one hurling the expletives.

Posted by J. Collins Fisher at Saturday, 1 November 2003 at 10:33pm GMT