Celtic Cross with CloudsUnlike other ordinations, the Bishop of Los Angeles had decided to ordain Michael at his home church, the one where he has lead the praish since the abrupt departure of it’s Rector approximately three years ago.

Three years ago, Michael entered the Episcopal Church as a refugee from the Church of the Nazarene, totally unsure of what the Episcopal was, but as a pastor, he had known the local rector, and they used to chat. It was during these chats that Michael began a walk in the wilderness, and this journey led him to St. Wilfrid of York in Huntington Beach.

His is a journey of the spirit, and today, along with almost 400 people, we were witness the the laying of hands by the bishop making him priest in the Episcopal Church. I was around him for much of his journey, and he’s been very supportive of my ministry. He came to the church knowing that something broader was calling him. He was exposed to committed Gay Christians for the first time, and I watched him grow and learn, and pray. He eventually broke the no same-sex blessing rule at St. Wilfrid, acting in a confident, but supporting manner to lead the congregation to accept this as an outpouring of the community’s love for a couple from within their own.

I saw him struggle with the idea of priest, of the liturgical needs, of how we do things in the Episcopal Church, but the good thing is and was that he has been able to keep the best of his former denomination, and accept the history of the Episcopal Church in order to make him a fuller human being, and a compassionate loving pastor.

After I left St. Wilfrids to continue my ministry, leaving my sponsoring parish, I wrote Michael that since I don’t have a younger brother, I consider him the Straight Younger Brother I Never Had.  It was with great affection that after his priesting I got into the reception line and walking to him I went to my knees and said, “May I have your blessing, Father Michael?”

A joyous day.