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Marriage equality in NJ: Justice is “getting under our fingernails”

Marriage equality in NJ: Justice is “getting under our fingernails”

New Jersey’s newspapers were filled this weekend with news about same-sex couples preparing to get married today, and the Rev. Cynthia Black, a priest in the Diocese of Newark was in the midst of two key stories.


Black, the rector of Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, talked with the Newark Star-Ledger about rewriting her sermon for yesterday in the wake of the state Supreme Court’s decision that banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, and she is pictured in the (Bergen County) Record story that features a lesbian couple whom she will marry at Redeemer.

About rewriting her sermon, Black said:

“My sermon was pre-planned, all about the earth, then along comes this ruling. As a lesbian I’m not going to ignore it,” Black said this morning. “So trying to transform a sermon about the earth to a sermon about the Supreme Court was a little bit of a challenge.”

The Episcopal Morristown church is in their “creation season,” Black said, in which they focus on a different element of creation each week. During today’s service, a bowl of dirt was brought forward during the offertory, a symbol that Black equates to moral justice.

“In gardeners terms it gets under our fingernails, and this is really the justice that needs to get under our fingernails, and get so far under our fingernails that we can’t scrub it out. And I think that’s happening,” she said.

The Episcopal Church has paid a price for its advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and it is important for us to claim every opportunity to explain why we have done what we have done in Christian terms. The Rev. Black did an excellent job in the Star-Ledger interview.

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