Editor’s note: Sheila Dynan and Doris Dicristina plan to get married at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Morristown on Oct. 21, 2013, the first day that same-sex marriages become legal in New Jersey. Here is more from the church.
FROM THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER:
Since 1991 the Church of the Redeemer, at 36 South St., Morristown, has been offering Commitment Services, and beginning in 2007, Civil Unions, for its gay and lesbian couples. That’s all about to change.
“We anticipate that in the very near future, we will finally be able to say to our gay and lesbian members, “The State of New Jersey has finally caught up with Redeemer,” said the Rev. Cynthia Black, rector of Church of the Redeemer in Morristown.
“For the past 22 years, this church has publicly affirmed that all committed and loving couples are equal in the eyes of God.”
Black, rector of Redeemer since 2011, is building on the work done by many at Redeemer, including her predecessor, the Rev. Phillip Wilson, who blessed the union of Peter Arney and George Jordan in 1991.
“We could not be where we are today without the hard work of many people, throughout Redeemer and beyond,” she said. Black herself has been involved in multiple efforts to get the Episcopal Church to allow the blessing of same sex unions since the 1980s.
When members of the congregation heard on Sept. 27 that state Judge Mary Jacobson had ruled that New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to marry, they immediately got to work.
One member of Redeemer, Colleen Hintz, has made all of the vestments at Redeemer, but knew there was one set she wanted to make to be ready for the first legal gay and lesbian weddings at her church—vestments with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender “pride” rainbow.
“My sister is a lesbian—I never thought I would live to see the day that she would be able to get married to her beloved Sarah,” she said, holding back tears. Hintz’ sister and her partner live in Texas, a state that has yet to approve marriage equality.
Another member of the congregation who writes hymns, Carol King, immediately began searching her files for hymns that would be appropriate for the first legal weddings, and has begun to work on lyrics of her own.
“This is a simple matter of justice for me,” she said, “Justice has been denied for far too long.”
Redeemer’s clergy have been offering pre-marital counseling, and preparing couples for their weddings. Rev. Black has been meeting with Sheila Dynan and Doris Dicristina in anticipation of marrying them the moment it is legal.
“We are working with our local clerk’s office, and working on finding a judge who will waive the three day waiting period required by the State of New Jersey after one applies for a wedding license. We hope to get married as close to 12:01 a.m. on October 21st as we can,” Dicristina said, referring to the day that same sex marriages will be legal in New Jersey, barring any further legal challenge.
As for the other members of Redeemer, they can’t wait either, said Rev. Black.
“Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter– we’ve got folks who will show up at midnight Sunday night, if it is legal at that point.”
“We’ve waited a long time for this moment, said Sheila Dynan, “We don’t want to wait a minute longer than we have to.”
The Church of the Redeemer, located at 36 South Street, Morristown, is a Christian liberation community in the Episcopal tradition, serving the people of Morristown and beyond for more than 160 years.
Sunday services are at 8:00 and 10:30 am (inclusive worship). As part of its practice of radical hospitality, the church provides space to the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown, the Eric Johnson House (part of NJ AIDS Services), a number of 12 step groups, and Empty Bowl Zendo. To learn more, please visit: www.redeemermorristown.org