Rev. Gene Robinson

9 couples will have their weddings acknowledged by their home congregation

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
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Bishop Gene Robinson will be the guest preacher at the Sunday morning service at the Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Robinson, the first openly-gay Episcopal bishop, will be in town to celebrate the commencement of same-sex marriage in Episcopal churches in the Dallas diocese.

Nine married couples that are members of St. Thomas but married elsewhere will be blessed at the Holy Eucharist Service on Sunday morning at the celebration of “All sacraments for all people.”

“For us, it’s an emotional moment,” said St. Thomas member Carl Youngberg.

He said the former Dallas bishop opposed same-sex marriage, and it was very disappointing when George Sumner was appointed bishop and announced there would be no same-sex marriages allowed in the diocese’s churches.

Youngberg said he expected the ceremony to acknowledge the nine marriages would be very emotional because it will include at least one person whose spouse has died.

When Missouri Bishop Wayne Smith visited the church, he told them to move on as a parish, Youngberg said. And that’s what the parish is doing, he said, describing the day as a gala celebration.

For St. Thomas, Youngberg said, Saturday is a turning point in the life of the congregation. “We have buried many gay people in Dallas,” he said, explaining that during the height of the AIDS crisis, the church held as many as three or four funerals a week. But now, he added, “we’re going to have a chance to marry them.”

Youngberg said he hopes couples and families will join the church as marriage becomes a sacrament practiced in Dallas as it is in Episcopal churches around the country.

The weekly service will be held at 10 a.m. and marriage ceremony at 11:45 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 6525 Inwood Road.