[Note: In preparation for continuing the series, I am reposting the "final" (and very slightly revised) entry to the series of posts I'd completed in March 2004 about our journey to Antioch (as part of my Pilgrim Essays). The previous version of this series of posts--up to this entry--is available in a single html document here. I will be adding subsequent entries which will be incorporated in a future revision. The entire series of these blog posts can be found here.]
3. Orthodox Encounters June 2002 to September 2003 (Part G)
The summer of 2003 was marked by one thing and one thing alone: the anticipation of Sofie’s birth, followed by its fulfillment. Of course, I still attended All Saints, this time more faithfully and regularly than before. Anna’s protests were much more muted and infrequent. Our discussions about Orthodoxy, and All Saints, were much more open and honest. They were discussions, rather than the repetition of entrenched positions.
Though unsurprising, the actions of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention–the ratification of the election of a divorced man in an open homosexual relationship, and the official permission to conduct same sex unions–brought into sharp focus the distinctions which the Orthodox Church offered. This was especially vital in relation to not merely the Episcopal Church but nearly all of the churches about which we had inquired or had visited.
Finally, 14 August came and Sofie was born. It was among the two or three most transformative experiences I’d been through in my entire life. Anna graciously acquiesced to my request for Father Patrick to come and say a prayer of blessing over Sofie. So, the next day, before Sofie was a full twenty-four hours old, Father Patrick and Khouria Denise arrived, with a beautiful gift of a pink dress, to pray over Sofie and share our joy.