I experienced something wonderful yesterday at St. Luke’s. As I’ve explained before, I attend an Episcopal church every Sunday for the sole purpose of singing (and I was thrilled to sing two of my favorite pieces yesterday).
Yesterday, the Bishop came to visit St. Luke’s to confirm new members of the congregation. As one coming from an LDS background, this concept is not new to me. However, what I experienced yesterday was unlike anything I ever saw or felt in the LDS church.
First, Bishop Diane (yes, a WOMAN!) is one spitfire of a woman. She is a tiny woman with a huge personality. She greeted everyone, and spoke to them with great presence and looked them right in the eye. She made most people laugh from one of her quips.
Then I watched as she gave each of these new members a blessing. Most had left the Catholic faith to freely live as they choose. When she laid her hands on the gay couple and expressed that the Episcopalian faith doesn’t discriminate against anyone, for any reason, my heart swelled. St. Luke’s congregation is very diverse in every way, and she included, welcomed, and loved all.
She also went off script, which as a kick-ass female warrior Bishop you get to do. Her blessing for each was an individual prayer as she discerned their gifts and their personal needs. She even stopped in the middle of one blessing to ask the woman if she preferred English or Spanish (btw, Bishop Diane also speaks Mandarine and Cantonese).
Yesterday’s experience was in such sharp contrast to previous church experiences, especially what is happening now in the LDS church with their outspoken discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Yesterday I saw a female Bishop (never happen in the LDS church) lay her loving and generous hands on same-sex couples of various races and bless them with the love of Christ.
And I really felt it. Jesus was in that room.