I seems that for the last three day we have attended events were the Bishop of Georgia was also there. He is really getting around the Diocese these days; there was the ECW annual meeting on Friday, the Listening session he arranged to hear concerns as we approach The Episcopal's Convention, and yesterday to Ordain an new Deacon for the Church.
So here we were, sitting in St Margaret's of Scotland in Moultrie, Georgia, to share this life changing occasion with a dear friend of being Ordained a new Deacon. There are Clergy, Church friends and Community friends also sharing together this important day in the life of our church and the service could be considered a 'high' service; lots of bell but no incense and lots of wonderful hymns and songs. As Kay happens to look around at who has joined this collection of friends; Kay tells me to look across the isle and one row behind us. There happens to be sitting, two young men in white shirts, tie, black pants and the familiar pocket name tag that Kay and I knew so well.
These were two men from the Mormon Mission that had been walking down the street and were invited to join our Celebration. Some older man standing outside had waived them down and just said to them, won't you please join us today. I was watching them out of the corner of my eye when it came time to extend the Sign of Peace ande I only saw one or two people greet them. So I immediately crossed the isle and extended my hand in the Sign of Peace and welcomed them and thanked them for taking the time to join us in Celebration that afternoon.
After the service, Kay and I went to them again and introduced ourselves and I asked them how they knew about Sally and what kind of work they did together; it was then we learned that they were asked by a greeter to join the day's service. We chatted for a while and then Kay asked them if they knew her 'daughter' and family who were also Mormon who attends the service at the 1st Ward for Valdosta. One of the young men told us the story of how he actually came to know this family. We didn't ask how they enjoyed or thought of our service, but they got a full dose of the Episcopal Church, especially with our wonderful Bishop presiding. They stayed and join the invited to share in food and drink and seemed to be have a great time chatting with those who also stayed. We left them to enjoy the company as we return home for the day. What a story they have to tell as they sit around trying to 'one up' each other as they share their Mission story to others.
To experience what turned out to be such an inclusive event for the Church community in Mourtrie, Georgia; I can't help but shake my head in not understanding why some of our Church door's are shut fagainst our gay brothers and sisters. Member's of Christ's church community who are waiting to be called in off the street into our churches to join in the celebration and share with other the community Christ's Body and Blood.