Overwhelmed by show of love and concern

Sunday July 14 was tough for my husband, the Reverend Tom Decker, and me. Quite coincidentally, we were both scheduled to serve at St. James’ Anglican Church Kingston, the parish church where we volunteer. Tom was the celebrant at mass, and I was the lay reader. 

We drove to church that morning still feeling very upset over the decision by the General Synod to deny the validity of our marriage. We felt like frauds going to worship with this denomination that continues to reject the legitimacy of our love. 

Tom and Maurice at St James-adj
The Reverend Tom Decker and Maurice Tomlinson (former members of St. Jude’s Oakville) now attend St. James Kingston. Maurice wore his “extra gay” shoes to worship on Sunday, July 14th … several days after General Synod voted not to approve same sex marriages. He wrote, “I deliberately wore (them) below my Alb as my act of silent “protest”. Photo: Maurice Tomlinson

But we were blessed by the overwhelming show of love and concern from the parish, including Father Don Ford who acknowledged the pain of the marriage vote decision in his homily, as well as the married lesbian in the congregation who said how proud she was to see Tom and I serving today. A senior church member also took me aside and disclosed that he is bisexual, and several people said that they loved my “extra gay” shoes that I deliberately wore below my Alb as my act of silent “protest”.

These acts of grace reminded us that we have a place in the Anglican Church of Canada, even while a minority of our church family wrestles with this fact. Tom and I remain faithful and proud Anglicans and hope that our presence and witness will one day help the church to reflect the truly radical and inclusive love of Christ.

Maurice Tomlinson 

Kingston, Ontario