Friday, August 19, 2011

Faithful Servant, Faithful Friend


The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Gilliatt died Tuesday, August 16 at the age of 67. She was Associate Professor of English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she had taught since at least 1984. She was also a faithful servant to the church and a faithful colleague and friend to me and to many, many others.

I served with Cynthia on the Board of Integrity USA 2000-2003, although I had known her many years before then. She was a faithful priest and baptized Christian who happened to be a lesbian when it was a very difficult time in the Diocese of Virginia (much less the larger church) to be so. She was always an activist, but always loyal. I believe in as much as she encouraged that paradoxical spirit in others, the Diocese of Virginia has been able to move remarkably far forward. As one who has always served in dioceses where it was relatively easy to be openly gay, she is one of my heroes.

Cynthia had a wonderful wit and she loved golf just a little less than she loved Jesus. She will be missed. When the history of the inclusion of lgbt people in the Episcopal Church is written, her name should be written in gold.

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