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[HoB/D] The grace to love each other: Two Women Marry

As if in the catacombs, I kept waiting for the familiar alertness that
often accompanies acts considered subversive,  wondering whether
someone official or unofficial would show up to object.  After all, it
is still illegal for two women to get married.

Yet same-sex unions are no longer illegal in Vermont, as I realized
most poignantly sitting with nearly 100 others at the Church of our
Savior at Killington, Vermont last Friday afternoon, watching the
ordinariness of it all as Lee Alison Crawford, priest of the Episcopal
Church, and Anne Clarke Brown, lay theologian in the Episcopal Church,
each pledged to the other to share her love and her  life, her
wholeness and her brokenness, her joys and her sorrows, her health and
her sickness, her riches and her poverty, her success and her

One has a doctorate, the other is an ABD; both are trained in theology.
Both are deputies from Vermont.  The Rev. Jane Garrett, of the General
Convention Secretariat, was the presider; the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson
from New Hampshire was the preacher; the Rt. Rev. Mary Adelia McLeod
was the celebrant.  Deputy Tom Little, Esq., one who guided the bill
through Vermont's legislature, joined all the congregation in signing
as a witness to the official document of civil union.  Several other
deputies from General Convention were there.

What you are doing is crazy, it is difficult, it is holy, Canon
Robinson counseled the couple.  It is crazy, he explained, not for the
reasons some would expect, not because you are two women,  but because
in a time given to complete self-centeredness you are pledging to love
each other more than you love yourself; you are pledging to be there
for each other  in adversity, to forgive each other....

A young friend of mine, also from out of state, pointed with great
interest to the dozens of folks obviously over 65 and even more
obviously glad to be a part of the congregation.  I recognized many of
them from the parish Lee serves as rector.  I have visited that parish
and am not surprised they turned out in force.  She has loved them and
nurtured them in their wholeness and their brokenness, their joys and
their sorrows, their health and their sickness, their riches and their
poverty, their success and their failure.  How could they not be here
for Lee and Anne?

Both sets of parents were there.  Numerous children were there.  We
had a good feast afterward outdoors across from the pretty country
church nestled off the main road, in the shadow of the huge mountains
that tower over this ski resort area.  Children led a fanfare of
blowing bubbles as Bishop McLeod and Mac McLeod drove away to complete
their packing for their move the next day to retirement in Florida.

I always feel like the mother of the bride at weddings.  I managed to
keep my cool through the service, but at the reception,  I nearly lost
it when Anne Brown's sister Lee read a letter from her daughter and
son-in-law, who could not be at the service:

"Dear Anne and Lee,

            "There are some who say that courage is what one musters
in a time of crisis, like war or the battle against a debilitating
illness.  I know in my heart, however, that the truest, most heroic
courage is that which must be summoned on a daily basis in order to be
true to an ideal in the face of opposition, ridicule, or oppression.
I am so glad we have the opportunity to formally recognize your
courage.  I think the ideal to which you both are, and have always
been, committed is at its core about equality and acceptance.  And
practicing equality and acceptance embodies the kind of unconditional,
non-judgmental kind of love of which God hopes for all people and
things.  The fact that you practice these things on a daily basis
toward others and each other is inspirational.  And now, what better
way to honor God^s hope for unconditional love than to honor your
union today?

            "Patrick and I^as you know^do believe that our society^s
political choices are surely a reflection of our moral center.  As
such, we are so thrilled that you live in a state which has chosen
fairness over fundamentalism, equality over discrimination, and
justice over political expediency.  Thank you for allowing us to share
in this occasion^one that honors your love, but more importantly,
honors your courage.

            "We love you, are proud of you, and wish for you many more
years of happiness together.


                                                            "Kim and
Patrick (Anderson)"

"Creator of all, you make us in your image and likeness and fill us
with everlasting life. You teach your people to be united by the law
of love. Hear the prayers of your people and grant to Anne and Lee
grace to love each other in joy all the days of their lives. We ask
this through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, to whom, with you, one
God, be praise for ever and ever. Amen."

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., #12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew   973-395-1068

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