Bishop Brewer & the McCaffreys issue separate updates on last night’s meeting about Baby Jack’s baptism

by

The Orlando Sentinel has word from the Rt Rev Greg Brewer that baby Jack, the child at the center of a storm of questions over his postponed baptism, will indeed be baptized at the Cathedral Church of St Luke, as originally planned by his parents with the cathedral Dean, the Very Rev Anthony Clark.

Brewer declined to set a date, leaving that to the parents to announce. He did say that

he did not oppose the baptism of the child. He added there was some disagreement between Clark and the two men as to whether the date of the baptism was firm or tentative.

UPDATE –

On his Facebook page, Rich McCaffrey has provided an update from him and Rich regarding their meeting with Bishop Brewer last night. The current word is that Jack will be baptized this summer and the bishop has offered to participate. They report a pleasant meeting with the bishop and state that he understood the original baptismal date to have been firm. He also expressed that he didn’t support the postponement.

Rich addressed a question many folks have posssed; Why are they choosing to remain a part of the cathedral parish?

We are returning because we still have faith in the goodness of people, and we trust people have good intent and ultimately will do the right thing. This is not to say faith or trust should be given blindly, but there are moments when you must choose to rise above the fray and acknowledge you are part of something bigger.

Posted by Rosalind Hughes, updated by David Allen

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
newest oldest
Notify of
Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

Ann Fontaine posted a link to this past Sunday's sermon by St. Luke's canon, L'Hommedieu. It would be great for everyone to have access to this "response." Spoiler alert, we're all the devil.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Eric Bonetti
Member
Eric Bonetti

With all respect, the bit about inflaming things to try to finagle a meeting with the bishop is lame. Who on earth wants to meet the bishop? I mean, I like our bishops here in DioVA, but it's not like meeting the pope. No big deal.

Meanwhile, concur with Bro David. Part of the issue is that the cathedral staff made it a big deal in the first place. Just quietly schedule the baptism and be done with it.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Murray
Guest
David Murray

As for me - I believe the details of this issue speak for themselves. The two parents have been polite, and fulled with proper concern for the baptism of their child.

As for the rest - the church as a whole was aware, and behaved in a proper order of concern that the faith was the focus in the rite of baptism. Only those wanting to cover-up the desire of some need be concerned. The days of hiding is over.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Ric Schopke
Guest
Ric Schopke

It is with great sadness that I have read the comments on this site and elsewhere concerning the recent events at my church in Orlando. The attitudes of commenters who claim the name of Christ should reflect that name. Few have done so. My comment here has nothing to do with the subject of baptism or with homosexuality. It pertains to attitude, especially Christian graciousness. Perhaps each of us feels that if we don't stand up for the Cause (whatever it is, or whatever side of it) no one else will. Read through the comments and try to find the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We have assumed, demeaned, given and used false information, assigned motives, presumed, ranted, slandered, spoken without knowledge of all the parties involved or all the facts, and in general shown forth our Righteous Indignation. Sometimes our righteous indignation can be extremely unrigheous. It is too late to reword our thoughts and re-act our reactions for this situation. Perhaps we can more prayerfully consider what we say, especially as Christians posting about Christians on a Christian website.

I have hesitated writting this. I don't want to over-react or assign false motives by what I have said, but the most of the comments I have read have simply added more hurt and stress to an already hurtful and stressful situation. Thank you for listening. May God's grace help us all to be gracious and grace-full.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Linda McMillan
Member
Linda McMillan

You know, I don't say this very often, but I agree with Fr. Paul on this one.

I did not hear him say that anyone should storm out, nor did I hear him say that the two dads should have done anything differently. What I heard him say is that the problem extends beyond this one incident. There is an overarching problem of institutionalized homophobia which was not addressed. TEC managed to edge past this one more time with everyone smiling and being nice, and nothing actually changing.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Allen
Guest
David Allen

I suggest that you reread Paul's first paragraph in his 2nd post in this thread of comments;

Rich and Eric have my support and I suspect they were blindsided by the response to their request, and rejoice they spoke out publically. However, by dealing with this only as a matter of a baptism and not confronting the systemic homophobia at every step along the way, they (and most of those replying on this forum) are party to sweeping under the rug the anti-gay discrimination evident from the initial request/refusal to have their child baptized at Easter, agreeing to a separate baptism at an evening service, and finally meeting with the bishop only about the baptism.

Emphasis mine.

Paul is upset/disappointed that the dads didn't handle the entire affair, from the original date for a Sunday evening baptism to the topic of their meeting with the bishop, differently. He has a different agenda of what they should have done.

Bro David

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Linda McMillan
Member
Linda McMillan

I completely agree with Fr. Paul.

The dads shouldn't have had to choose between Easter Sunday morning and an alternative that would be more comfortable for some members. That they made the best choice for them and their family is not at issue. I think everybody supports the family. What is important, and what has not been addressed, is the fact that they had to make that decision. In the midst of the smiles and self-congratulations that has still not been addressed.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Theodore William Johnson
Guest
Theodore William Johnson

It bears repeating: none of this would have occurred if the parents were straight.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jay Croft
Guest
Jay Croft

I can predict this: St. Luke's cathedral will see the greatest attendance in its history when Jack is baptized.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Paul Woodrum
Guest

My agenda, David, is justice and equality for LGBT Episcopalians. It's gratifying the McCaffrey family spoke up, but regrettable that the response was largely staring at the baptism tree and missing the homophobia forest. I see no shift in the positions of the dean, bishop, Orlando gay community, or Episcopalians who responded, only a big sigh of relief that the spotlight has moved on. Silence = death, not peace.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Which is well and good Paul, but you don't get to make the judgement calls in our lives as to when we are going to throw ourselves upon the barricades. We GLBT folks get to decide for ourselves, without your judgement and insult, our own Stonewall moments.

Bro David

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jay Croft
Guest
Jay Croft

Amen, Paul.

Unless the entire system and culture is changed, it is not the "shalom" kind of peace.

My wife and I moved from Alabama to Maryland last year. It's very refreshing to be in a culture where "Democratic Party" is not a dirty word, and people actually drive Priusis (Priusii?) and other hybrid cars. ;-]

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Kristin Fontaine
Member
Kristin Fontaine

To those saying that by staying in the church and having their son baptized the parents are allowing the issue to be "swept this under the carpet", I want to tell you that sometimes the hardest thing about being in a church where you have had to call out bad behavior, is coming in the next Sunday and worshiping with the same people who you have just had a conflict with.

When I was in Texas in the 1990's, an episcopal priest gave the sermon claiming that God had sent AIDS as response to homosexuality. I was shocked an appalled to hear it. I had a conversation with the priest and emerged shaking and exhausted from the experience. As a part of that conversation I outed myself to him (I'm a monogamous bisexual married to a man, so I pass as straight without even meaning to).

One of the hardest things I have ever done was pick myself up and go to church the next Sunday. I never heard another peep from the priest on the topic of LGBQT or AIDS (at least in public where I could hear it), but it was the start of my experience of the church as an exhausting place. For people who are marginalized, just showing up and being present, is a major act of witness and can require a great deal of stamina.

I hope the family receives on-going support and love from people in their lives.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Paul Woodrum
Guest

Rich and Eric have my support and I suspect they were blindsided by the response to their request, and rejoice they spoke out publically. However, by dealing with this only as a matter of a baptism and not confronting the systemic homophobia at every step along the way, they (and most of those replying on this forum) are party to sweeping under the rug the anti-gay discrimination evident from the initial request/refusal to have their child baptized at Easter, agreeing to a separate baptism at an evening service, and finally meeting with the bishop only about the baptism.

I know Episcopalians have great difficulty understanding that sometimes confrontation (even "destructive and inflammatory") is far more loving, just and constructive than peace for peace sake. Thanks be to God Jack will be baptized and join us as a citizen of the kingdom, but this does nothing to solve the real issue of injustice that eats away at our souls.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Ann Fontaine
Member
Ann Fontaine

Different tactics for different people - we learned that in the women's rights movement - some are called to be confrontational and outspoken, some are called to witness in other ways. All good - all works together

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Allen
Guest
David Allen

It's sad that you see the need to push your agenda on the McCaffrey family.

Bro David

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Member

Susan- I totally agree with you! The response and tone of the Bishop v. The "Cathedral" are like night and day. David Allen's comment that, "The dean likely had no idea....and so has not been in town this week." Now I understand! Only "The Cathedral" could comment, in the third person, and Tony Clark has hidden under a rock this past week. His internets were only available at "The Cathedral" so he as unable to post,a and let the building do it for him.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Mary Baker
Guest
Mary Baker

I originally supported the parents I do not now. After reading their final letter, I question their motives and sincerity. I think they whipped the peanut crunching crowd around the world, and within the diocese, into a frenzy to garner attention for themselves and to manipulate their way into this appointment with the Bishop. I could be wrong but I don't think so, and their intentions may have had precious little to do with the child and far more to do with personal selfishness and a desire for spotligt as the first gay couple to have a child baptized in the cathedral. I don't support them any more, and it seems a lot of people (myself included) have been used.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Allen
Guest
David Allen

I don't see any of your baseless wild imaginings in Rich's grace-filled comment on his FB page after meeting with the bishop. Your accusations are unfounded and out of line.

Bro David

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
JC Fisher
Guest
JC Fisher

"a desire for spotligt as the first gay couple to have a child baptized in the cathedral"

Horsehockey. The focus on the "first gay" ANYTHING comes only because of the *refusal* of gay people for so long. I see ZERO evidence that this couple made it a factor, only those who were uncomfortable w/ them.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Susan Forsburg
Guest
Susan Forsburg

The Dean has been heard from.
"In recent days, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke has become embroiled in a media controversy regarding the baptism of a child of a gay couple.

The conjecture and speculation being circulated has contained inaccurate and false information regarding the series of events and interaction with the family.....

It is important to note that the Dean and Cathedral have always intended to baptize this child. No one, including the Bishop, "denied" this baptism. We regret the delay, apologize for it and are working with his family on a revised date that will accommodate their schedule and respect the sacrament of Holy Baptism of their child. The family and the Dean are committed to restoring their pastoral relationship and the family's welcome into the life of the Cathedral, with support from the Bishop. We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary...."

https://www.facebook.com/events/862202270519419/

There's a striking difference in how the moderators of the Diocesan facebook and the Cathedral facebook handled the conflict. The Cathedral, as its notice here indicates, is far more defensive.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Murray
Guest
David Murray

Just so Jay. Public notice of this did have a place in the outcome. Hopefully, this can be a start of good for the future. However, let us not be confused; none of this would have happened with a straight couple.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jay Croft
Guest
Jay Croft

By the way, I wrote my initial comment before the update was posted.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jay Croft
Guest
Jay Croft

To C. Salmon and Bro David--

It's about balance of power. The bishop and dean initially exercised veto power over this otherwise-routine baptism.

The bishop was going to "interview" the parents to make sure that they were going to raise the baby in a Christian manner. He does not normally do this.

There was a public outcry of international proportions. Now it seems that there was a cordial meeting with the bishop, and the roadblocks were removed. That's good.

Also, it seems that the bishop does not entirely condone the actions of the dean, who hasn't been heard from so far.

"Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called children of God."

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Jay, the bishop had nothing to do with the postponement. He was broadsided with the information.

The dean likely had no idea that Rich McCaffrey was planning to write his Facebook entry and so has not been in town this week.

The bishop's meeting with the McCaffrey dads was to address the issue of the postponed baptism. The fact that it was becoming an "interview" was something that came out in a newspaper interview. Likely the bishop needed better prep from his communications professional before tackling journalists.

Bro David

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Lee Ann Walling
Guest

The Bishop's "waffling," the parents are "sweeping it under the carpet." Do you believe Obama is planning a military takeover of Texas, too?! Sometimes reasonable people actually work things out. The most effective way to achieve change is to stay put and be part of the change, not march off in a huff. The parents strike me as mature, thoughtful and focused on raising a child of faith.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Paul Woodrum
Guest

It's Episcopalian nice that Jack will be baptized and I'm happy for his fathers. But once again the whole, underlying problem of systemic homophobia that started this whole situation, is swept under the carpet by the parents, the dean and the bishop. Here was a teachable moment but, it seems, nobody has learned anything. How long, O Lord, how long will your people walk in darkness?

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

according to Paul, the church's mission is a ministry of reconciliation. The church's - not just the clergy's. I'd say these two men have embraced the church's mission, whatever their bishop, dean or certain members of the cathedral congregation have done. NOTHING would be gained by stomping off in a huff, except, perhaps, that they would then have taken up the techniques contrary to the church's mission. Remember the African bishops who refused to concelebrate with our primate because of her position on the place of gay people in the church? We really, really don't need to go there.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Allen
Guest
David Allen

How have Rich and Eric swept this under the carpet? What would you have them do, stand in a crucified place? Rant & rave and leave the cathedral parish? Publicly slam the dean & the bishop, ending the possibility of calling the cathedral parish home? Please tell us what your agenda would be for them.

Bro David

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
June Butler
Guest

David, I completely agree. There is no carpet large enough to hide all the commentary from the media storm that resulted from the last minute postponement of Jack's baptism.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jim Frodge
Guest
Jim Frodge

AMEN and AMEN! It seems that whatever issue existed has been resolved by both parties meeting, as it should be. Let the parties to this move forward and baptize this child and grow the kingdom.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Murray
Guest
David Murray

Thank you.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Ellen Campbell
Guest
Ellen Campbell

This is a very gracious family of deep faith. Perhaps certain people involved in this have learned from this family.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Susan Russell
Guest
Susan Russell

A wonderful witness to ACTUAL Christian Family Values. May the willingness of this family to "stand in the temple and tell" be a kind of Acts 5 moment that will be a tipping point toward full inclusion in the Diocese of Central Florida. And Baby Jack -- you totally hit the rocking-it parents jackpot, dude. God bless!

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
David Murray
Guest
David Murray

Mr. McCaffrey wrote a wonderful letter.

May this is an occasion indeed for healing, and also for growth of the promise of a inclusive faith.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
JC Fisher
Guest
JC Fisher

Hear, hear. (And God bless!)

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Ann Fontaine
Member
Ann Fontaine

From parents https://www.facebook.com/rich.mccaffrey/posts/10152965399243512

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Ann Fontaine
Member
Ann Fontaine

Joint statement will be forthcoming

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jay Croft
Guest
Jay Croft

It would have been better if the bishop, the dean and the parents had issued a joint statement.

Bishop Brewer continues to waffle.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
C. Salmon
Guest
C. Salmon

How is he waffling? He has said Jack will be baptized, that it will be done at the Cathedral, and that he has offered to be involved. He hasn't said anything about a date, presumably because (a) it's not up to him to schedule, and (b) they met yesterday evening, so the chances are that the parents haven't had time to schedule anything yet. Where is the waffling?

Like (0)
Dislike (0)