Toronto
2 min

It’s a girl!

After a single date, Rev Susan Mabey and congregation member Katherine Noel confessed their dalliance to the church.



They’d gone to an amusement park.



“We actually went through a healthy process with the board of directors. They came up with a policy on paid staff dating a member of the congregation,” says Mabey.



Noel was a board member: she could no longer vote on personnel issues. After six months of continued dating, one of the two would be forced to resign.



Noel did – leaving Mabey as pastor of the Christos Metropolitan Community Church. And after nine years together, the pair now have a child, Anna, “dedicated to God” at the age of four months at a special ceremony held May 27 at Bloor Street’s Trinity-St Paul’s United Church. Almost 70 people attended, and the press was invited.



While the two grown-ups aren’t sleeping much, they’re deliriously happy.



Getting pregnant wasn’t too complicated. They used a medical syringe and a diaphragm to keep the sperm in. But the father – who’s gay – lives outside the country, so there was much travelling.



His name is on the birth certificate, but he’ll give up his legal rights. And Mabey will then formally adopt the child, a process that is now simple (although it requires a judge’s approval).



“She’ll always know that he’s daddy,” says Noel of the father. “He’ll play an intimate uncle kind of role.



“I love children, I’m a teacher by profession. I didn’t see my life going in that direction, but as the years passed, [the feeling of wanting a child] didn’t go away. The desire was so strong.”



So was the desire for a dedication ceremony. Says Noel: “Our lives are more than just the community. We don’t care about ways that things are done in the community, we both have our own faith journeys.



“We didn’t want her to have a baptism yet, we want her to make her own decision on that.”



As for staying together for nine years, the pair have just worked it out. “We laugh a lot, talk a lot, play a lot, ask for a lot of forgiveness,” says Noel, who’s almost 38. (She admits the first date was a surprise: “I don’t think of my pastor as being available.”)



The couple had a holy union ceremony on Oct 2, 1994.



Mabey is 46, and has an adult son from a previous marriage (who attended the ceremony). Twenty years ago, the United Church refused to ordain her because of her lesbianism.



She wants gay men and lesbians to consider kids. “They really don’t think it’s an option… many should, because they have good relationships and happy homes.”