Sunday was the first Sabbath day since the Episcopal Church earlier this week approved two controversial topics: (1) accepting the first openly gay bishop and (2) an affirmation that same sex blessing ceremonies are 'an acceptable practice in the church.'
Church priests returned to their pulpits uncertain how their members would respond.
The church bell rung as church service ended at Saint Thomas Church, Sunday morning. The Rev. Brian Seage compled, what he calls, the most difficult sermon he's ever had to write. Saege said as Christian's we're called to rep-resent Christ's love to the world and anyone who loves god can do that job effectively.
"When we separate out what goes on in the bedroom, versus the way the person constructs their life, I don't think it's difficult to see that this person can be a faithful Christian," Seage said.
The Reverend Gene Robinson, a gay clergyman, was approved as New Hampshire's bishop by a vote on Tuesday. The 56-year-old, father of two has been living with his partner for 13 years. Saege said Robinson's confirmation could alienate some Episcopalians, but he hopes that doesn't happen. Seage preached a message that all Christians can be in communion with one another, despite differences.
"I really believe that we can come to the table together and that we continue to worship as one Christian body and I think it's really important for us to believe that," Seage said.
Parishioners after the service said they're taking The Rev. Seage's message to heart. Although it's a controversial topic, they're standing behind the church, and they say they'll continue to pray about the issue.
"I believe he's probably correct. I still want to digest all that, it's a tremendous change in our lives I think," church member Jack Boice said.
"You know we're all called to love each other wherever we are, and we'll do that. I do believe we'll do that," church member Mary Lou Freeman said.
"Father Brian did a terrific job of interpreting that to us today in church and talking to us about how we are all children of good, we're all equal in God's eyes," church member Katherine Wilson said.
With Bible interpretations supporting both sides of the coin, it could be hard for some to see the issue clearly.
Mississippi Episcopal Bishop Duncan Gray, III voted against Robinson's approval as Bishhop.