To continue with the story of our visit to MCC...
Brenda was home alone that Sunday in mid July, so I invited her to come too, with Susan and I, to the ceremony during which our friends Dave and Joe would be honoured.
We all set out early for the 11 o'clock service on Simpson Avenue in downtown Toronto; prepared for traffic and leaving time to find a parking space. It turned out that the traffic was surprisingly light, and we drove without a pause, to the church.
I saw Dave and Joe making their way to the church, and Joe waving us to drive around the streets to find a parking spot, since there is none at the church. But almost immediately we found a spot, right outside the church. Susan got out to check for "no parking signs," and finding none, we considered the spot ours!
The old tree lined street was full of people making their way to the church on foot and I noticed how many of them were men.
Dave was surrounded by an entourage that included a striking, dark haired young woman. It took me a few minutes to realize that this was Shan, of the blog Half Soled Boots, and Dave and Joe's niece; in the flesh! We hugged and laughed for joy at finally meeting after knowing one another electronically for so long.
Little Ruby and Sadie hovered around Dave like pretty butterflies, drawn by kindness, love and wisdom instead of flowers.
We were early, and we filled the long, old, pews of dark polished wood around Dave and Joe, with a hustle and bustle, arranging ourselves as best fitted. And then I began to observe and absorb.
The heat was intense and the humidity oppressive--at least 33 degrees, and no air conditioning in the old and stately building, but Reverend Brent Hawkes exhorted the congregation to use the vertical fans that had been provided to each of us--"It's called the program," he said, to a ripple of laughter.
I noticed a group of men and women gathering near the front in a huddle, all wearing t shirts in various shades of aqua, blue and turquoise and leaned over to comment to Shan on how coordinated everyone looked, when I realized that they were the choir, about to have a final practice before the service!
Gradually the empty pews filled up around us and the murmur of voices grew quieter as people settled and prepared for the service to start.
Rev. Hawkes mentioned the fact that the service would, as usual, be filmed, but that those who wished not to be on camera, could use the balconies.
I leaned over to Shan and commented that I felt goosebumps as I looked around me. When she asked why, I said, knowing as I said it that it was af generalization, that as I looked around, I sensed that everyone there had a story to tell of pain and rejection such as we could not imagine. The fact that people gathered to worship with others of the same sexual orientation, could have meant that there are other places where they are not welcome but I sensed and saw, community and caring being demonstrated all around me.
To be continued...