BELIEVE OUT LOUD
St. Aidan's Vestry Approves Same Sex Marriage
On Tuesday December 16, 2015 the vestry and rector of St. Aidan's completed the process required by the Diocese of Southern Virginia in regards to same sex marriage. St. Aidan's is now an affirming congregation. This means that the rector is permitted to perform same sex marriages in the church. The parish took a long and careful look at this and felt it was time to move forward in response to the General Convention's approval of these rites last summer.
WHAT IS A BELIEVE OUT LOUD CONGREGATION?
What does it mean to “believe out loud”? What does it mean to be a “welcoming church”? First, Believe Out Loud is an inter-denominational online network that provides support to Welcoming programs such as Integrity USA. Integrity USA coordinates Episcopal Welcoming Congregational programs throughout the country. They work both within the church to assist congregations in becoming more welcoming as well as conducting outreach to persons who may feel ostracized from God and the church due to their sexual orientation.
Second, the Episcopal Church is not unique in this mission of outreach and inclusivity. The Institute for Welcoming Resources is a task force comprised of dozens of denominations, from Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Methodist, to Disciples of Christ, and Mennonite, to name a few. So, with such a wide ranging group of churches, I chose to utilize the “Building an Inclusive Church” toolkit to assist us on our own journey.
To ‘believe out loud’ means that we are a welcoming church – we accept all whom God has created, respecting the dignity of every human being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. This should not sound foreign to those of you who have been worshiping with us for a few years. For those of you who are new to St. Aidan’s this is part of our first core value. If our first core value is to be welcoming, why not ‘believe out loud’ about this core value? Wouldn’t we welcome anyone regardless of race to worship with us? What about their previous religious background (or lack of one too), would we really care? We welcome you to worship at St. Aidan’s if you are Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or Libertarian, or had never voted in your life. We welcome veterans, active duty and retirees from all branches of the military, and all those who never served in the military. In short we welcome all to God's table.