United Methodists

The Day Love Reigned In Florida

by Rev . Dawn S. Liphart

From faiths of all traditions, we clergy stood waiting to be selected like kids on a childhood playground. People from all walks of life had gathered: gay, straight, couples, singles, families with children, black, white, Latino, and Asian. People mingled introducing one to another.

All of us there for one purpose, to celebrate and witness the legal marriages of 50 LGBTQ couples.

The idea had started from one woman, and the domino effect resulted in nearly 1200 people volunteering photography, flowers, wedding dresses, music, food, and other various services. Couples, some having 40+ years together and others only 2 to 3, were married with families by their sides and 100’s of others witnessing history, just days after same-sex marriages began in Florida.

My presence was Holy Spirit driven as if dressed in robe and stole was a magnet for theological attraction. “What church are you with?” “UMC? Nice!” “Can you tell me how one becomes a United Methodist pastor?” “What do you all believe about baptism?” “Wow your stole is beautiful—tell me about it.

“What do you say to those people who don’t believe in same sex marriage?” “Where’s your church?” “Can I come visit?” “Would I be welcomed?”

“Thank you for being here Pastor; it means a lot to me.”

One by one they approached, each genuine and authentic. Each left with messages of hope and invitation.

The journey to be fully present on this day was not taken lightly. After much prayerful soul searching, the Holy Spirit confirmed my commitment to Biblical Obedience as Terri and Jerri gave me the privilege of officiating their wedding. The joy and love they have shared for 18 years was obvious.

Their family embraced them as they pledged their vows to one another until death do they part. They walked the aisle as 100’s cheered for them. And then…then there was dancing, yes even clergy twirling in liturgical robes. How can you not dance when your soul is so joyful and you have answered God’s calling and stepped out faithfully in Biblical Obedience?

To be open to how God has called you, to how God may use you, nothing is more soulfully joyful! How then can you not dance, especially when the song is “HAPPY!”

Hemming Park, Jacksonville, Florida, January 10, 2015―the day love reigned!

Among the colorful diverse group of hundreds in service and ministry, The United Methodist Church opened her arms saying, “God loves you, for the Bible tells me so.”

Originally published by Reconciling Ministries Network; Photo via Reconciling Ministries Network