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New gay rector for St. John's (SF)</
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 10/14/2005 | Kevin Davis

Posted on 10/14/2005 5:44:53 PM PDT by sionnsar

SAN FRANCISCO (October 14, 2005)--An Episcopal LGBT rights advocate and longtime social service worker will be installed as rector at a mostly-queer Mission District Episcopal parish this weekend.

The Right Reverend William Swing, California Diocese bishop, will preside over Father John Kirkley's installation as rector of St. John the Evangelist Church on Sunday, October 16 at 4 p.m., in a Eucharist service with formal liturgy to recognize the church's new beginning.

Kirkley, 38, gained comparative perspectives on different faith traditions at Indiana University, and came out in the process, asking more sophisticated questions than what his fundamentalist upbringing allowed while attending both Southern Baptist and Catholic churches growing up in Griffith, Indiana.

"I had an intellectual and spiritual hunger, which gave me pause to reconsider my own tradition," said Kirkley. "I came out progay before I came out."

After earning a master's of divinity degree at the progressive, interdenominational Chicago Theological Seminary, Kirkley served as a hospital chaplain and provided pastoral care to prostitutes in a Chicago ecumenical night ministry. He later served as a caseworker at an LGBT youth shelter where he met another volunteer, now his 11-year partner, Andrew Aldrich. The couple later moved to San Francisco.

Aldrich is past president of the board of Our Family Coalition, a children's book author, freelance LGBT parenting journalist, and full-time parent to their adopted son Nehemiah, 7.

Kirkley served as associate vicar of Noe Valley's Holy Innocents' Church. He then joined St. John's 18 months ago, initially on an interim basis, a "lease with an option to buy," he called it, after a succession of leaders following Father David Norgard, who stepped down in 1999. The vestry officially elected Kirkley this summer.

Founded in 1857 and one of San Francisco's three oldest Episcopal sanctuaries, the city blew up the first stone St. John's to build a fire break during the 1906 earthquake. East coast members donated money to erect the current wood-shingled building in 1907. It was restored in the 1990s.

St. John's was historically the "big society, upper-class church," said Kirkley, until, like many inner city parishes in the 1930s and 1940s, it struggled with population shifts.

Parishioners say the Mission District church anchors them in reality, giving substance to their spirituality.

Of the nightly Narcotics Anonymous meetings held there, six-year parishioner Jan Adams, a 30-year Mission resident, said, "For that neighborhood, that's what we need.'

Openly gay Rector Jim Brown's decision to welcome and nurture LGBT people in the early 1970s revitalized the parish.

"It allowed this congregation to survive, to really flourish, and become an intentionally progressive, but very spiritually grounded community," said Kirkley of the 65-70 percent LGBT "small but growing" congregation of about 100.

St. John's was hit hard by the AIDS epidemic, burying about 50 members during an eight-year period.

"We lost half the congregation in the 1980s," said Adams.

The Sunday service's "Healing Station" is an example of St. John's Episcopal-style gathering: a prayer to heal body, mind, or spirit; a minister to pray with; laying on of hands; and hand-holding convey the desire for a person's physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness.

"The Episcopal Church is a much more mystical experience than some of the intellectual churches around," said member Ed Wright.

Kirkley also serves as advisory board president of Oasis California, the LGBT ministry of the California Episcopal Diocese that has started a statewide initiative organizing interfaith Christians, Jews, and others to support LGBT rights.

Oasis celebrates its 10th anniversary on October 29 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, the Anglican Communion's first openly gay bishop, will attend. Robinson will preside at St. John's Sunday Eucharist on October 30.

"In New Hampshire we crossed the Rubicon," said Kirkley, referring to Robinson's election as bishop. "There's no turning back."

Kirkley was also a steering committee member of "Claiming the Blessing," a collaborative ministry of Episcopal justice and LGBT advocacy groups that were instrumental in obtaining the church's approval for blessing faithful, monogamous relationships between adults of any gender in a resolution at the 2003 national convention.

"In typical Anglican fashion, it was a little ambiguous," Kirkley said of the resolution.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: ecusa; homosexualagenda; religiousleft; sf; sin

1 posted on 10/14/2005 5:44:56 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 10/14/2005 5:45:44 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar
Kirkley served as associate vicar of Noe Valley's Holy Innocents' Church.

You can't make this stuff up.

3 posted on 10/14/2005 5:48:45 PM PDT by madprof98
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To: madprof98

Will the last non-Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomatosexual to leave the Episcopal Church please turn out the lights?

4 posted on 10/14/2005 6:27:46 PM PDT by Argus
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To: madprof98
Nothing to see here, folks....

Just another rectom rector installed in San Fransicko...

Semper Fi

5 posted on 10/15/2005 12:30:02 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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