Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Christian “Who Happens to be Gay” Protests the Episcopal Diocese of Florida

From Florida-

When the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church meets this summer, it’s widely expected to pass a measure fully approving gay marriage within the church. It took a big step toward that decision the last time the body met, in 2015. There were, however, some holdouts, including the diocese that encompasses the Episcopalian churches of Northeast Florida.

Lawrence Denton, a lifelong Episcopalian, took it hard when the Diocese of Florida opted out of the church’s 2015 decision to approve “trial rights” for gay marriage. While the Episcopal Church has been far more progressive on the issue than most protestant denominations, the diocese that represents Northeast Florida is part of about 10 percent of dioceses that chose to go in another direction. Denton describes himself as a “lifelong Episcopalian who happens to be gay.”

So in 2015, Denton stopped attending the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Riverside, where he’d been a member since 1997, sending a letter of protest to Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard, as well as to leaders and friends in his home congregation.

Denton has lived in Jacksonville since the late 1980s and has belonged to various congregations, including St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral downtown and the Metropolitan Community Church. He joined Good Shepherd because a friend told him the clergy and members were gay-friendly; the members founded a local chapter of the national group Integrity USA, whose website characterizes it as “working for full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Episcopal Church and beyond.”

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