Friday, October 19, 2007

Congratulations to Bruno and Jerry!

Recently, Susan Russell, the Senior Associate at All Saints, Pasadena, mentioned in passing that she will return from London just in time for the blessing of the union of Bruno and Jerry, two members of the parish.

The self-appointed pistol packing Morality Police simply could not pass up such an opportunity to play "gotcha" with this bit of information. Their intended target was Bp. Jon Bruno. Apparently any "collateral damage" caused by launching yet another ugly attack against people they know nothing about was of little importance.

Jerry and Bruno have been looking forward to this Saturday for some time. They will finally be able to to proclaim their love for one another before God and the people of God. It will be a scaramental moment; a moment when the love of God will become manifest to all present in the vows of love that Jerry and Bruno will offer to one another.

How sad that an attempt was made to create a cloud over what has been intended to be a glorious day. Susan's response is worth noting:

...Why "stir it up" by mentioning it on this blog that I'm heading home to be part of a same sex wedding on Saturday? (And, for the record, I'm not "doing the blessing" ... God has already blessed the couple and the rector is presiding!)

Because it's good news worth telling. Because it's part of the work I've been doing "over here" -- giving folks a glimpse of what the church can and will be when it takes of its blinders and is healed of its heterosexism. Or at least on the road to healing.

And because it's called evangelism.

The meetings I've had here in London have been extraordinarily helpful ... encouraging ... and affirming that the very best thing we can do in the American Episcopal Church is to stay the course and continue to be that beacon of hope and inclusion that is casting Gospel light even as far as the sceptered isle!

The fact that our Presiding Bishop reiterates a vision of a church where there will be no outcasts in SPITE of the fact that the church has yet to catch up with the vision is a sign of great hope and encouragement to those I've met with this week in the CofE who can't even imagine that level of support from their national church leadership.

The reality that I return to a congregation that understands part of its mission to BE spreading the Good News of God's inclusive love AND the witness of a parish that has been in the blessing business for over 16 years is hard for some to even comprehend.

Alert the media. I'd love as many people as possible to share the good news of Bruno and Jerry making vows before God and their faith community to live happily ever after in union with each other and with the One who created them in love and then called them, enabled them, empowered them, to love one another...
Bruno visited Jake's place yesterday, and left a lovely message that I'm going to rescue from the oblivion of the comment box:

I guess my partner and I are the threat to peace in the communion now. Here is my response to those who have taken up the "cause" over our upcoming blessing this Saturday. Details at Rev. Susan Russell's blog.

A note to Stand Firm in Faith:

The big day approaches, and it really shouldn’t be a BIG day, it should remain a Holy day, as should be every day. That is all we wanted really, a day for us to declare, proclaim, if you will, our witness that God has indeed blessed us, and that with all that we are, and all that we have, we thank God for the gifts that have been given us, and that we intend to be in community as we are, together, one resource together, holding up the Good News of God as revealed by Jesus.

That is all, no princess photos, no glamor cake, no over the top costumes or “events”, a chance to celebrate with our family, not just blood family of the legal sense, but our family, those who worship God with us, those who struggle with their beliefs, those who don’t believe, or on not sure they believe. It really is appropriate that our relationship is not recognized by the state, or by much of the church as a governmental body, because we are witnessing to something outside of those limits. Just as we claim each member of All Saints Church as our family, yes even those whom we disagree with or initially dislike or “have difficulty” with, family not recognized by the state, or by treaty, or by covenant, but family in our very creation by God and reaffirmed by Christ Jesus.

To me, it does not matter much that I will not have the same protections under the law that my heterosexual family members have, it would be nice, but for me the most important thing is that, the family that we pray with, the family we share the Holy Meal with, will on this day, and on future days, pray with us and for us. And that we, will continue to stand and pray together for them and their concerns. We will come to the meal together and seek, and journey, offering support to one another, and that on the day that my beloved or I part this world, there will be a family to continue to love and pray for the surviving member of our little family.

My prayer is that we, my partner and I, will continue to try to live the Gospel, which is much harder than just preaching it. That we will continue to challenge one another to see not always Christ in others, but one of God’s children in others, a blessed part of creation, a gift, a light to help us find our way. It sometimes takes us a long time, but it is something we do, we challenge each other to find God’s gift to us in those who might cause us pain, and we try to always be a welcome to them. My beloved is very good at this, and has on several occasions reached out to someone who has insulted or harmed me in some way, and brought us together, and taught us to love, not always come to agreement, but to love, and thus provided the healing to my soul, that is the Good News isn’t it, that God is Love.

My prayer is that we, my partner and I, will continue to give each other strength, and support each other in our journey to God, to heaven in the here and now, to God’s kingdom if you will. That we will continue to find comfort in one an other, in our voices in our bodies. I pray that God’s touch will always be present when I feel my beloveds touch, a reminder that we are wonderfully made, and loved, and that I will continue to find the resources in this reminder that there is enough love in me, to care for the poor, the widowed, the outcast, the sick and infirm, the lonely, the unloved. That in the dark hours when those who hate us, and wish us harm, those who wish us to hide the light that God has lit in us, these resources will give us the strength and boldness to stand as a witness to those who fear that God’s kingdom is not for them, that indeed God loves them and that there is nothing outside of or beyond the grace of God to be transformed into the Holy.

So for those of you who would say we, by declaring our commitment to each other to live thusly, are “torpedoing” the Communion, or destroying the “Church”. I invite you to kneel on that day, and pray with us, pray for God’s will, not ours, or yours, pray for the strength to care for those who are without, pray for those who live in fear, pray for the strength to love the unloved and alone, pray that God’s word become manifest in your being and actions, in our being and actions, pray for the vision of a world healed, and the courage to act towards that goal. And know, that there will be your family in Christ Jesus praying and sharing the meal with you.

May the Love of God and the Peace of Christ be with you.

Bruno Finocchio
Thank you, Bruno. That was beautiful.

The Celebration and Blessing of the Union of Vincent “Bruno” Finocchio and Jerome W. Mersky will be on Saturday, October 20, at 1:00 p.m. at All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA. If you are in the neighborhood, consider honoring these two men with your presence. It will indeed be a glorious day.

O gracious and everliving God, you have created us in your image: Look mercifully upon these men who come to you seeking your blessing, and assist them with your grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


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