A Message from the Convener of Affirmation Scotland
Is the Eurovision Song Contest the iconic gay TV show it once was? Iím sure it still is for many people but I confess itís never done very much for me and the last winner I can recall with any vividness is ĎSave All Your Kisses For Me!Ē But my apathy about the whole thing didnít stop me enjoying a fun night watching the contest recently, in the company of a few friends, some gay and some straight.
One of those there was experiencing his first Eurovision and was shocked (I think) to learn that it happens every year. He was Revd. Dr Paul Capetz, a friend of Lindsay Biddle and John Mann. On the Sunday morning Paul preached at Johnís church, St. Jamesí Pollok in Glasgow, which is mentioned on this website as an affirming congregation. Paulís sermon is on this page and it is well worth a read. It was heard attentively and welcomed warmly by the congregation. I donít think I have ever heard a preacher in a Church of Scotland pulpit speak in the first person as a gay man. And the roof didnít fall in.
Paulís story, which he talks of in his sermon, is interesting. He laid aside his ordination as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA as a protest against the refusal of that church to ordain openly gay and lesbian people. As a symbol of this he stopped wearing his preaching stole (or scarf.) Many other people in the church stopped wearing their stoles as a sign of solidarity with him and all those who were denied ordination. A few months ago, however, as a result of some changes in church law, Paul was able to argue his case and took up his ordination again.
On Sunday at St. Jamesí Pollok church John Mann talked of this journey that Paul had been on and then presented him, to his surprise, with a new stole, made by Lindsay for the occasion, in bright rainbow colours. Paul was almost speechless (but he still managed to preach!) and the congregation applauded. It was very moving and powerful. It was a winner of a service and a sermon.
John Mann sent me Paulís sermon, with these accompanying words: On Sunday 25 May, Rev. Dr. Paul Capetz, Professor of Historical Theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities spoke during worship at St. James (Pollok) Parish Church. In his sermon he described his own journey as a gay person in ministry and referred to biblical texts commonly used to condemn people of LGBT orientation.
I commend the sermon to you. Enjoy and take encouragement from it.
[Text of the Sermon]