A CATHEDRAL in the United States has agreed to reschedule the
baptism of a gay couple's son, days after cancelling the service
and telling the parents that members of the congregation had
objected to its taking place.
The parents, Rich and Eric McCaffrey, who were married last
year, posted the news of the cancellation on their Facebook page,
saying they were "angry and heartbroken", after the Very Revd
Anthony Clark, of St Luke's Cathedral, Orlando, in Florida, told
them that he could not carry out the baptism of their adopted son
Jack as planned.
Rich McCaffrey wrote: "Three days before our son was to be
baptised he was turned away. At that moment, he was unwelcomed by
the church, and denied his rite to be recognized as a
Protests were launched on social media, and the Bishop of
Central Florida, the Rt Revd Greg Brewer, contacted the couple,
asking for a meeting. After this meeting, Bishop Brewer - a known
conservative on issues such as gay marriage - sent a letter to
clergy and congregations in he which he said that the cathedral
leadership had held an emergency meeting and "affirmed their
support for the McCaffreys and their child's baptism".
He wrote: "I know that for some, saying yes to this baptism
feels like nothing more than pastoral logic, particularly when one
starts with the spiritual needs of the child, regardless of the
child's family situation, and especially if the church is willing
to take up her responsibility for spiritual formation. For others,
it feels like a betrayal of the Gospel and a capitulation on my
part in my opposition to gay marriage in the church. Please know,
for those on both sides of the gay marriage issue, that I have not
changed - at all - my opposition to the church's recognition of gay
marriage as Holy Matrimony."
He continued: "Are you willing to say 'No' to the baptism of
children from a couple that have in their history multiple
divorces? If not, why are you willing to give such heterosexual
relations a pass, but condemn civilly married gay Christians? Who
"In other words, we are all broken and sinful people who are
deeply in need of the mercy of Christ. There is a child in need of
the grace of Christ. There are parents who are committed to raising
their son as a Christian."
Rich McCaffrey later posted on Facebook about the meeting that
Bishop Brewer "genuinely wanted to learn about us and expressed his
apologies for how it had been handled. Most importantly, he was
clear he is supportive of Eric and I, two dads, baptising our son
at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it."
The cathedral published on its website: "It is important to note
that the Dean and Cathedral have always intended to baptise this
child. No one, including the Bishop, 'denied' this baptism. We
regret the delay, apologise for it, and are working with the family
on a revised date."