by Marcia Ledford
Integrity Volunteer at GC12
I’ve heard about
General Convention for two decades now and have always wanted to attend
one. So, here I am. Admittedly, I’m a political animal where issues of
racism, sexism and of LGBT people are concerned. I’ve worn many hats,
including civil rights attorney and documentary photographer for the
University of Michigan’s Affirmative Action Cases before the U. S.
I’m a seminarian now, having finally answered the
Holy Spirit’s call to the priesthood that call has been there since I
was a teenager. But as a lesbian, there was no room for me at the
Baptist Inn. My partner and I chose The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 1988.
We celebrated our 10th anniversary with a 1992 Life Covenant ceremony in
the Diocese of Michigan. We could not have a blessing in the Name of
the Trinity, so we wrote our ceremony following the marriage rite in the
Book of Common Prayer without that blessing. Guess what--we were
blessed by the Holy Spirit anyway. That was a time of great turmoil. We
had protesters yelling the “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve”
mantra. Our priest received death threats if he carried out the
ceremony. We had bodyguards. The Associated Press ran stories.
|Marcia Ledford and Bishop Robinson|
Ours and ceremonies like ours have sprung up all over the country and
have led to this historic moment. TEC hopefully will formally authorize
liturgical rites for same-sex couples to make vows to God and each other
before a loving company of witnesses. I love the Episcopal Church’s
theology, liturgy, music, and ancient roots, but mostly its courage to
behave like “all means all.” It talks the talk, but more importantly is
walking the walk with integrity. Views have softened. Good people have
stayed in the church and experienced a change of heart. It takes time
for this kind of systemic change.
As a matter of fact, LGBT
veterans of previous GC’s tell me that this one is different. The
emotional pulse is steady. The ethos of past conventions has been
described as a white-knuckle roller coaster ride over sexuality-related
issues. Many think the reason is that the most ardent critics of LGBT
inclusion and women’s ordination left the church. We must focus on those
who have persevered and the wonderful people who are coming to the
church because of its unique and bold steps toward an inclusive Body of
If you do the math, Linda and I celebrate 30 years this year.
must live and love free or die, regardless of our sexuality and gender
identity. Living in the closet suffocates. I know. I tried it, but not
for long. Like Lazarus, I had to be unbound, set free, from the tomb
that enveloped me. This is a basic human need: freedom. Our Creator did
not intend for us to be boxed up —- just take a look at creation for
confirmation! Best part of the day? I got to hug Bishop Gene Robinson,
thank him, and get my picture taken with him. Wow!