Ninesame-gendered couples’ marriages were blessed in a ceremony at Fort Lauderdale’s All Saints Episcopal Church, 333 Tarpon Drive. In 2009 the Episcopal Church’s General Convention authorized Episcopal Bishops to choose whether to allow the blessing of same-gendered marriages within their Dioceses. The Bishop of Southeast Florida, Leo Frade, petitioned by the Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, agreed to allow the blessing ceremony to take place.
The nine couples, who were legally married in California, Canada, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia, have been in committed relationships anywhere from 10 to 43 years.
The sanctuary was filled with more than 350 people – parishioners, friends and family of the couples, who celebrated the unions with a specific blessing for each of the couples.
“We have walked a very long road to get to this moment,” said the Rev Sherod Mallow, Rector of All Saints. “We have worked and struggled for years to bring us to the place where true diversity and the celebration of the committed relationships of all our parishioners are embraced as part of God’s larger plan for his people. While the celebration service was important and meaningful for the nine couples involved, it was probably even more important for the rest of the congregation to be witnesses to examples of love and life-long commitment.”
Unlike many Christian denominations The Episcopal Church, has attempted a “Consecration” model for LGBT parishioners, where their sexual orientation and relationships are embraced and life-long committed relationships are celebrated.
“It is a memorable day”, said Lorraine Michels, one of those whose marriage was blessed at the ceremony. Mallow said “we hope this will be the first – and as far as we know, this is the first blessing service to take place in the state of Florida – of many such blessings; as we welcome those in committed relationships to have the support of their church community and the larger church.”
The Reverend Sherod Mallow can be contacted at 954-467-6496. Visit AllSaintsfl.org for more information.