By Kate Long, Christ Church Macon
Last night I attended the Integrity Eucharist. One may ask, “Why was there another worship service when we celebrate Eucharist every morning of General Convention?” In asking myself this before hand, I realized there must be a great reason for its existence so I decided to go.
After a procession including Holy water sprinkling, a ribbon dove flying around on top of a 50 foot pole, and an overwhelming rendition of the spiritual “Wade in the Water”, I knew this service meant a great deal to a lot of people. For the first reading we watched a short video presentation celebrating Integrity USA’s founding and founder, Louie Crew- a gay man born in Alabama in 1936- to which the video kept reiterating “Louie had a huge love of God, his family, the South, and other boys” and then went on to explain how forty years ago Louie began pressing the Episcopal Church in middle Georgia (in the Diocese of Atlanta) to accept and embrace the entire gay community.
When Louie Crew carefully made his way up to the altar, he received a five minute long standing ovation with joyful cheers and tears being released throughout the 1000+ congregation in attendance. Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool- the first open Lesbian bishop consecrated in the Episcopal Church- received similar treatment when she approached the pulpit to preach the sermon.
This is where the evening's message quite literally hit home. She talked about Odysseus- the great Greek hero- and his great internal dichotomy of wanting to leave home for adventure and excitement but wanting desperately to return home to familial love and intimacy. Moses led the Israelites away from most of their physical homes searching in the desert for forty years to find a new spiritual home. Jesus rarely defined His own physical home constantly traveling to build up the following of souls to reunite as family in His eternal home, heaven.
Young adults typically leave home after high school in search of worldly experience through college, military, work, or spiritual calling. Going off to college was so thrilling to me, yet I called home weekly sobbing because I missed my family and their way of life. The extraordinary opportunity we possess as in betweeners of childhood and adulthood is just that, a gray area where we straddle comforting memories of family dinner, home parishes, youth groups and enlightening odyssey of discerning our way to change the world.