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Bishop Brewer to meet with McCaffreys about postponed Florida baptism

Bishop Brewer to meet with McCaffreys about postponed Florida baptism

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Bishop Greg Brewer of the Diocese of Central Florida will meet Thursday evening (May 7) with Rich and Eric McCaffrey, the gay couple whose son Jack’s baptism was scheduled and then postponed because of congregation members’ objections:

Brewer said there is some disagreement between [cathedral Dean Anthony] Clark and the two men as to whether the date of the baptism, April 19, was firm or tentative.
The bishop said he doesn’t oppose the baptism of the child of gay parents, but before that takes place he needs to know if the McCaffreys are committed to raising the child as a Christian.

In the bishop’s words, “Whether they are active in the church and Christians in the community is far more important than whether they are gay or straight.”

Rich McCaffrey published the following statement on Facebook earlier today:

Hi Everyone,
I have intentionally held on commenting online out of respect for our meeting with Bishop Brewer tomorrow. However, I want to offer a few points of clarification to the OS article published this evening.
– Jack’s baptism date of April 19 was not tentative – this is first I have heard there may be “disagreement” about this. It was agreed to and reiterated in the baptism prep class we attended (held shortly before that date). Others attended that same class who were being baptized Easter weekend.
– Our intention was / is to baptize our son and raise him in the Christian faith as we were.
Thank you all for your continued support,

Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett

Photo above: Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando



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Ann Van Dervoort

The decision not to baptize that precious child is one of the worst decisions I have ever heard a priest to make. I have baptized many infants in the hospital who were not expected to live. I certainly did not interrogate the parents! I have baptized other children in the hospital because the parents asked me to. It was important to them and I was glad to do it. Recently I baptized an adult male who was dying in the ICU. Baptism is baptism. there are not “buts” about it.

James Pratt

The bishop, diocese and dean seem to be digging themselves deeper into a hole every day.

Jay Croft


It’s the bishop and the dean who are misunderstanding the Christian gospel.

Eric Bonetti

Received the following response when I sent an e-mail to the dean sharply critical of his actions:

“Thank you for your email about Jack’s baptism.

Jack’s parents and I have had a very regrettable misunderstanding regarding Jack’s baptism; I and others have reached out to them so that we might resolve the misunderstanding and make this right moving forward. Bishop Brewer will be meeting with Jack’s parents later this week.

I don’t want to make additional comments that may be unhelpful to the Bishop’s and Jack’s parents meeting this week.

Please give us the opportunity to work through the misunderstanding over the next several days.”

Instead of all the equivocation, how about, “I’m sorry I made a mistake. I will fix it.”?

Edgar Wallace

Early on in my ministry, I refused to baptize a child whose parents weren’t regular church goers. I was young and legalistic and somehow had bought into the idea that baptism was a reward for thorough preparation good church behavior on the part of the parents. The look of hurt on the face of those parents stays with me still. If they ever did find a church home, I do not know. I vowed however that I would never again refuse baptism to any who asked, adult or child. Over the years I have encountered many who have been wounded by such rigidity. How many young parents and their children have found themselves pushed away just as they were reaching out for acceptance by the church because they didn’t fit the acceptable pattern. That Bishop Brewer wants to further question these wonderful parents who indeed have professed their faith and desire to raise their child in the church is added insult to the Dean’s refusal. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” He didn’t say interview the parents to see if they are worthy.

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