Meeting the faithful in Albury
Rodney Croome takes the fight for marriage equality to Albury.
Sometimes it’s the unexpected moments that are the most important
Last weekend I was in Albury with fellow marriage equality advocates as part of our national tour of seats key to achieving reform.
The pre-arranged events – meetings, workshops, forums – all went well.
Indeed, what surprised me about the community response to our info stall in the main street was not just the support we received from passers-by, but how emphatic that support was.
Words to the effect of “give me something to sign NOW!”, were heard not a few times.
In response to these events, as well as Crosby/Textor polling showing high support in the electorate, local federal MP, Sussan Ley, shifted her position from “my constituents aren’t ready for it”, to “I want to hear from my constituents”.
[Image] Farrer MP Sussan Ley
Local advocates will make sure of that.
If these outcomes had been the sum of the weekend, it would have been a great success. But something extraordinary happened that made the weekend quite precious.
The local Anglican Archdeacon approached the info stall and asked us to church the next morning. On the spur of the moment we agreed to go.
We arrived to a sea of ministers, deacons and vergers greeting a large number of parishioners: here was a community, not just a congregation.
The elaborate High Church service was unfamiliar to me as someone brought up in the simpler Low Church tradition. But the choir transcended all such boundaries with the best voices I have ever heard in an Australian church.
Then, during his announcements, the Archdeacon acknowledged us and our work, and we were given a round of applause.
The warm welcome continued afterwards as we shared scones and jam with the congregation.
Think about that for a minute: a long-established church in a small regional city applauds the work of those defending equality for same-sex couples.
Over the last decade, there have been many moving moments in the marriage equality debate.
But there can be few more indicative of how much Australia has changed for the better, and inspiring to those of us who campaign for equality, than the applause of the Anglican parishioners of Albury.