We Did: Stories of United Methodists living marriage equality
By Rev. Martha Morrison
One of the more memorable experiences of my ministry occurred at Washington Square UMC in New York City, where I served as pastor during the mid- to late-1980s.
One day I was approached by two men who were probably in their early forties in age. They asked if I would consider officiating at a holy union for them within the next few months. (There was no gay legal marriage at that time). They had been in a loving relationship for a significant period of time and were ready to make a formal commitment to each other. They were excited about having a celebration with family and friends, and they hoped it could be in the church.
We met for several sessions and I asked them to share with me the circumstances of their being drawn to each other and how they had concluded they wanted to build a life together. The values they held in common and their financial resources, among other considerations, indicated they had looked seriously at their abilities to work through the happy and difficult times that occur in any ongoing relationship,
We worked together on the content of the ceremony they wanted to have. They wanted to use much of the traditional UMC ceremony, but to formulate their own vows. They wrote a sensitive and beautiful expression of their hopes and dreams and commitment to each other.
The day arrived and it was a very joy-filled experience for them and their family and friends, as well as for me.
Martha Morrison is a retired elder in the New York Annual Conference.
We Did is a project of Methodists in New Directions (MIND) dedicated to making visible our ministries to LGBTQ people and encouraging others in the UMC to transcend the institutional requirement to discriminate and make their ministries visible, too. It is part of the Biblical Obedience movement sweeping across the United Methodist Church. You can read all the We Did stories here. We invite you to submit your own story to We Did.