The more I thought about it, this was a matter of righteousness.

Greg Williams

As a Midwesterner transplanted to California, Greg Williams found himself in the turmoil surrounding an issue he’d never before confronted — civil liberties for homosexual teachers.

When I was about 25 or 30 I moved to San Francisco to teach. When I was there we discovered a church—St. Aiden’s—which is an Episcopal church and the first Episcopal church I ever went to, that was kind of far away from our home. We didn’t really have a car. And it was also a period of time when I was struggling with the alcoholism in my family. And it happened that some gay men who went to St. Aiden’s would take us to church on Sunday mornings. We got to know each better and better and they were recovering alcoholics and they were very helpful in helping me kind of figure out what to do to help my family in recovering from this disease. They were also wild and wacky guys. I’d grown up in the Midwest and I didn’t know any gay people. This was a whole new thing to me. My eyes were kind of opening all this time.

I became very fond of them and they were really good guys.

At the same time the school I was teaching at, I was teaching 5th grade and there was an 8th grade teacher who was a gay man. He was a wonderful teacher. His name was Darryl. He worked well with the kids, taught them English, got them really excited about it. All of this was great and wonderful.

And then into our life came this thing in California came something called Proposition 6. It was, I don’t even remember, it would be the late 1970’s, maybe, and Proposition 6 questioned whether gay people could teach; it wanted to ban gay people from the classroom. I was teaching—the school I was teaching in was a pretty liberal Catholic school but a Catholic school nevertheless, and I thought this proposition 6 was just ridiculous—that somebody shouldn’t be able to teach because of their sexuality. And there were fears about their destroying kids’ sexuality or leading them toward homosexuality. And that was all just garbage. I kind of knew that from my friends and Darryl. My dilemma was—what do I about this Proposition 6. I decided I’d start speaking out about it and wearing a button and things like that.

Well, stuff hit the fan (laughs). The leaders of the Catholic school were pretty good about it. It was the Religious of the Sacred Heart. They were very cool nuns; in fact one of the things they hired me to do was to develop social justice curriculum. But the parents weren’t nearly as good about it. So there was a lot of antagonism, a lot of anger—all of things which, as a child of an alcoholic, I would rather avoid but didn’t. And it was—the more I kind of lived in it and dealt with it, the more I thought this was kind of a matter of righteousness. Knowing gay people and being fond of them and standing up for them all kind of needed to happen together. So I did it. I stood up for them. Things passed and we all survived it and the proposition got defeated but it scared me a lot.

It was a time in my life where the song “Be not Afraid” was really strong for me and really poignant, not only dealing with my family’s problems but dealing with this. So that was kind of where my faith and politics intersected.

Summer Sunday Service Schedule: Through September 17, 2017

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music

Regular Sunday Service Schedule: Returns September 24, 2017

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

We would love to have you join us.

Location

This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.


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