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On Sunday, less than a week after the Presbyterian Church (U. A.) approved allowing same-sex marriages in its congregations, Kaci Clark-Porter and her wife, Holly, will walk down the aisle of Wilmington's First and Central Presbyterian Church to be ordained as ministers.
It's a history-making moment for the historic church off Rodney Square, and is possibly the first joint ordination ever of a same-sex couple.
Growing up as a "church nerd" in Tyler, Texas, Kaci enjoyed unlocking the mysteries of the Bible and applying its lessons to modern life.
As a college student studying existentialism, she learned that faith was not blind belief, but "acting in the world because of what you believe."In 2009, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Reformation-era theologian John Calvin, Kaci commissioned a portrait of him to be tattooed on her right leg.
Tuesday's vote (affirmed by the majority of the church's 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries), redefines marriage in the church's constitution from being between "a man and a woman" to between "two people, traditionally, a man and a woman."With that small wording change, the 1.7 million-member denomination joined the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, Society of Friends (Quaker), the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches and Reform and Conservative Jewish movements in allowing same-sex marriage, according to the Pew Research Center.
Since June, Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest body of Presbyterians in the country, has allowed clergy to perform same-sex marriages in states where it is legal.
National church officials don't keep such statistics, but they couldn't point to other examples.
As for the couple, married three years, Sunday is the culmination of years of self-examination and intensive training side by side.
For six months, she didn't speak to her parents, but they eventually flew a Rainbow flag. At the ordination ceremony today, the couple will wear red stoles sewn by Holly's mother.
They consist of fabric from roughly 100 silk bow ties (Kaci's favorite neckwear), donated by family and friends.
Even in a secure space like Big Gay Church, fortified by prayer and fellowship, one question lingers: "Does God still love me?
"It's a question that has vexed the Presbyterian Church for three decades.
"And doing so for a segment of the population that, at times, has been brutally excluded."Born in a KKK stronghold with more cows than people, Holly recalls a classmate in her small northeast Texas town who came out in high school. Holly's mother struggled for eight years to have children.