Same-Sex Couple Celebration & Blessing

 

July 8, 2006
All Are Welcome to a Saturday evening interfaith gathering during Madison's LGBT Pride Weekend

Grace Episcopal Church's historic steeple, seen with the Wisconsin State Capitol Building in the background.

Grace Episcopal Church, on the Capitol Square at West Washington Avenue, Madison, Wis.

Lesbian and gay couples were invited to a special church service celebrating and blessing their relationships the evening of Saturday, July 8 at Grace Episcopal Church on the Capitol Square during Madison's annual Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Pride weekend.

Clergy and parishioners from several GLBT-affirming churches in the Madison area led the celebration, with participation by the very gay-friendly Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus.  Mixed-gender couples, friends and family participated as well in the event, which became the lead story on that night's TV news on both Madison's WISC (CBS) and WKOW (ABC) affiliates.

At the Pride Picnic earlier Saturday in Brittingham Park, and prior to the service at Grace Church, volunteers helped couples create signs to hold for the photograph and eventually in Sunday's Pride Parade, showing their names and the number of years as a couple. 

Immediately after the service a group photo was taken with the Capitol as a backdrop, after which I/D members served cake and refreshments back across the street at the church. 

ANNIVERSARIES:  For some, the event served as an anniversary celebration.  "My partner Brian and I held a Holy Union ceremony 11 years ago in July," said Ken Scott, of Mt. Horeb, one of the event organizers.  "Of course our relationship is between us and God.  But that public blessing helped our relatives and friends understand that we'd become not just devoted roommates, but a family."

SUPPORT:  For others the event presented a safe place for rejuvenation.  "Recognizing our years of commitment is very important, and something I don't get enough of," said Liz, of Janesville, who will participated in the service with her partner Amie.  "This event is something that'll build us up.  That's how I see church."

Al and Bob seated in the hot sun at the I/D booth at the picnic
Baltazar creating a sign for Amber & Gena with a marker on poster board.
Above, Baltazar works on a sign during the Saturday afternoon Pride Picnic prior to the service.

At left, Al (in yellow shirt), Bob and other members of I/D staffed a booth to make signs for couples to carry at the service and/or in Sunday's pride parade.
Michal and Peggy stand smiling and holding their sign indicating they've been together 19 years.
Even some couples who did not plan to attend the service had signs made to celebrate their years together.
Couples holding signs on the steps of the State Capitol building
Many of the couples participating in the service crossed the street to have their group photo taken on the steps of the State Capitol.


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Integrity/Dignity of Madison is an ecumenical Christian faith community affiliated nationally with INTEGRITY, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group within the Episcopal church, and DIGNITY, an organization of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay Roman Catholics and their friends. The Wisconsin Conference of Churches has recognized I/D as an AIDS Caring Community since Advent 1996—a community which, without judgment, hesitation or reservation, provides all of its services to persons who are either infected with HIV or are affected by it.

I/D-Madison meets selected Saturdays from September through June at 6205 University Avenue, at 6:00 p.m., unless otherwise advertised.  St. Dunstanís Episcopal Church is wheelchair accessible.   Our mailing address is P.O. Box 2287, Madison, Wisconsin, 53701-2287.  For more information about I/D–Madison, contact Jim or Bill at (608) 836-8886 or info@idmadison.org.  We keep names and personal information confidential.

picture of Dignity members in grassy field holding banner with DignityUSA logo www.dignityusa.org
tel. 1-800-877-8797
Integrity, Inc. national logo www.integrityusa.org
tel. 1-202-462-9193

Learn more about these national organizations.  Check out their web sites or talk to a member at the next I/D event.

 

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