Friday, September 05, 2003

Sept. 5. 2003 vigil over gay marriage

The Cambridge Reporter
September 5, 2003 Friday Final Edition

HEADLINE: MPs face prayer vigils over gay marriage

Local MPs will be the targets of fervent prayer on Sunday afternoon as opponents of proposed same-sex marriage legislation rally in front of constituency offices.

It's a two-pronged approach, according to Harold Albrecht, pastor of Pathway Community Church, which meets in Brigadoon Public School in Kitchener.

"We're praying and we're taking a public stand," he said. "The two need to go together.

"It's too easy for us to cloister ourselves in our holy huddles."

Albrecht is helping to organize a prayer rally in front of the St. Jacobs constituency office of Waterloo-Wellington MP Lynn Myers. It will be one of more than 150 prayer rallies across the country that have been co-ordinated in part by the Canada Family Action Coalition, a non-denominational Christian group based in Calgary.

So far, prayer rallies are planned outside the offices of more than 150 of the 301 members of Parliament across Canada.

The coalition has been working with other Christian groups -- including REAL Women of Canada and Canada Christian College in Toronto -- to plan the rallies. The coalition is urging opponents of the federal government's intention to legalize same-sex marriage to gather outside the politicians' offices at 3 p.m.

Albrecht said he will be praying for wisdom for government leaders.

"As a believer, I certainly feel that the source of our wisdom is God's Word," he said. "We will be praying that all of our leaders will be open to God's wisdom in this, and not bow to a very small group who currently have a different view.

"I want to make this very clear -- this is not an anti-homosexual rally. We're here to defend and support (heterosexual) marriage.

Albrecht said he believes it's important for family stability to keep marriage heterosexual.

Myers, in an interview Wednesday, said he was invited to the rally in front of his office but had a previous engagement so he won't be able to attend.

However, Myers said, he wasn't distressed by the gathering.

"That's the beauty of democracy," he said. "People have the right to meet and assemble and say what they want or do what they want -- in this case, pray as they see fit, which is very fine by me.

"I just hope it doesn't turn into what happened to my colleague (Kitchener-Waterloo MP) Andrew Telegdi, where it looked like a setup."

During a meeting last week in Waterloo with opponents of two pieces of federal legislation, Telegdi called one of the pastors in attendance a "liar" and stormed out.