[We ask that commenters respect the request of the Dean that “We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary” – The Elves]
[Update: The Rev Gary L’Hommedieu’s sermon on point ‘Love One Another As I Have Loved You’ [1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17] may be listened to here – from Sunday, May 10th]
Received via email from the Diocese of Central Florida
Please find attached statements from Bishop Brewer, the McCaffrey family and The Cathedral of St. Luke regarding the recent controversy surrounding the delayed baptism of Jackson McCaffrey, the infant adopted son of Rich and Eric McCaffrey.
There has been a lot of misinformation and speculation since this issue became public last Sunday. We hope these statements will largely put that to rest while healing and reconciliation move forward.
This is, at heart, a matter for the McCaffrey family, Dean Tony Clark and Bishop Brewer to resolve and reconcile. They are well along the way to doing just that.
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CATHEDRAL
In recent days, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke has become embroiled in a media controversy regarding the baptism of a child of a gay couple.
The conjecture and speculation being circulated has contained inaccurate and false information regarding the series of events and interaction with the family.
It is with great care and concern that the Cathedral and the Diocese of Central Florida mutually address this situation with all dignity and respect for the family, the child and the congregation.
Baptism is a rite of new birth and new life in Christ. Parents, godparents and sponsors promise the child will be “brought up in the Christian faith and life” – taught the Gospel – so that the grace of baptism may be nurtured and strengthened by the faith of the family and by proper Christian instruction provided by the Church and at home.
It is important to note that the Dean and Cathedral have always intended to baptize this child. No one, including the Bishop, “denied” this baptism. We regret the delay, apologize for it and are working with his family on a revised date that will accommodate their schedule and respect the sacrament of Holy Baptism of their child. The family and the Dean are committed to restoring their pastoral relationship and their welcome into the life of the Cathedral with support from the Bishop. We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary.
In the meantime, the Cathedral is open and welcoming to all with the ultimate mission of leading people to Christ and transforming lives. We will continue to provide timeless truths to a changing world through the teachings and interpretation of the Gospel as Jesus instructed in the Great Commission. As a congregation we will support this family in their desire to raise their child in the Christian faith.
We ask for your prayers for the family, the child, the Cathedral and the congregation as we navigate through this process.
In Christ we stand united,
The Cathedral Church of St. Luke
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
BISHOP BREWER’S STATEMENT ON HIS MEETING WITH THE McCAFFREYS
On the evening of May 7th, I met with Rich and Eric McCaffrey in my office. Our purpose was to get to know each other and talk through the events that occurred surrounding Dean Tony Clark’s decision to postpone the baptism of their son, Jack.
This was the first time the three of us had met. The conversation was open, warm, and frank. I prayed with and for the McCaffreys at the conclusion of our time together.
The McCaffreys indicated that they wanted to move forward with the baptism and for that baptism to take place at the Cathedral. They said they wanted to set a date for the baptism later in the summer “after the dust settles” so that the focus would be on the baptism and nothing else.
As I had just left a meeting of the leadership of the Cathedral, I brought to them the Cathedral’s desire for the McCaffreys to continue worshipping at the Cathedral and for the baptism to proceed there.
We talked about my being a part of the baptism and I told them I would be happy to do so. We look forward to celebrating Jack’s baptism at the Cathedral in the near future.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer
Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida
A STATEMENT FROM RICH AND ERIC McCAFFREY
Less than a week ago I shared a very personal story about our son Jack’s baptism. Since then we have received an overwhelming response. Many have expressed disappointment, anger, and a lack of understanding about the situation that unfolded. However, the common thread is one of support from the community, including members of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke. Know that the support has been reaffirming and sustaining for both Eric and me as we contemplated how we want to proceed with the central issue, baptizing Jack.
Bishop Brewer extended an invitation to meet with us and we had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday evening. We spoke frankly and openly about the chain of events. The Bishop acknowledged he learned the Cathedral set a firm date of April 19 for the baptism, but did not support postponing the baptism. He 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, baptizing our son at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it.
We are appreciative and are looking forward to the baptism to take place this summer. At the same time we know on many fronts there is healing to be done which will take time. Some may question why we are choosing to return to the Cathedral. We are returning because we still have faith in the goodness of people, and we trust people have good intent and ultimately will do the right thing. This is not to say faith or trust should be given blindly, but there are moments when you must choose to rise above the fray and acknowledge you are part of something bigger.
I close with one more lesson for Jack ”“ Aspire to live your life with grace and forgiveness. You will be better for it.
Change is seldom easy. I thank each of you for listening to us, supporting us, and engaging in the conversation.