Home > Uncategorized > First Episcopal Church Gay Wedding (aka Witnessing & Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant) in State of Texas celebrated at St. David’s in Austin

First Episcopal Church Gay Wedding (aka Witnessing & Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant) in State of Texas celebrated at St. David’s in Austin

Anthony & Dennis

Anthony & Dennis

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

It was a delightful honor and a Cosmic joy to photograph the first Episcopal Church gay wedding (aka “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant”) in the State of Texas at St. David’s Church in downtown Austin on February 23, 2013.

Dennis' sister and son flank him

Nicole and Nathan flank their Dad Dennis

The entire Wedding Party

The entire Wedding Party

Anthony Dale Chapple and Dennis Glenn Driskell – biracial partners of 23 years who were recently married in New York City – repeated vows to each other as hundreds of St. David’s parishioners and other friends gathered in the church’s historic sanctuary.

 blog Anthony & Dennis4

Rev. Beth Magill preaching on The Beatitudes and Anthony & Dennis

Rev. Beth Magill preaching on The Beatitudes and Anthony & Dennis

Anthony and Dennis chose the Beatitudes reading for the service and the Rev. Beth Magill – missioner of the Episcopal Student Center at the University of Texas and a former St. David’s priest – preached a sermon that brought both laughs and tears. Link to her sermon coming soon.

Rev. David Boyd begins Lifelong Covenant Blessing

Rev. David Boyd begins Lifelong Covenant Blessing

Some of the liturgy read – Each member of the couple, in turn, takes the hand of the other and says – “In the name of God, I, Dennis/Anthony, give myself to you Anthony/Dennis. I will support and care for you: enduring all things, bearing all things. I will hold and cherish you: in times of plenty, in times of want. I will honor and love you: forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow.”

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

Blessing at the altar

Blessing at the altar


A Kiss and A Hug Dennis’ sister Jeannie Benskin and his son Nathan Driskell were presenters. The Rev. David Boyd, Rector of St. David’s, presided at the one-hour service. St. David’s is one of two churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas that can conduct such a service.  Anthony and Dennis were the Eucharistic Ministers during their service’s Communion.

Couple flank Rev. Cathy Boyd during Consecration

Couple flank Rev. Cathy Boyd during Consecration

It was fun to share this historic moment with many of my old friends from St. David’s and the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest where I was communications director for 24 years. I was recommended as a photographer to Anthony and Dennis and I am very grateful to have recorded such an uplifting and beautiful service.

Anthony & Dennis begin the Second 23 years

Anthony & Dennis begin the Second 23 years

Simply put – this service was the most stunningly spiritual experience I have had in a church throughout my 66 years. Nothing else comes close.

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 24, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    YES YES YES!! Thank you, Bob, for your work and words.

    • February 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks, Jenny
      I appreciate your appreciation of my work and words.

  2. Barbara Grove
    February 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Dearest Anthony and Dennis, What joy it was to celebrate with you and our loving community in this historic and beautiful service! You are much loved by so many! Thank you for your invaluable presence among us. Barbara

    • February 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      I echo what Barbara and so many others have said. Thank you, Bob, for taking photos that captured the glory, holiness, and joy of the service. Thank you, Anthony and Dennis, for your witness to the transforming power of love and faithfulness, and thank you to everybody at St David’s–staff, volunteers,and clergy who helped make the blessing a unforgettable and inspiring experience for all of us present.

    • Dennis Driskell
      March 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      Barbara, you are such a kind soul. Our lives are richer for knowing you.

  3. Dennis Driskell
    February 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    What a beautiful, thoughtful and moving post, Bob. We were honored to have you as our photographer yesterday. The outpouring of love has left me speechless, but you found words to express it. Thank you for that..

    • February 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks, Dennis
      That I was able to express in my writing what you are speechless to say means a lot to me.

  4. Jeanie Sablatura
    February 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Bob! I was so hoping to find some great pictures on FB!

    • February 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Hey, Jeanie
      Dropping off two photo discs to St David’s Tuesday.
      Same discs I am giving to Anthony and Dennis
      About 320 total photos.
      OK to post any on facebook. I appreciate photo credit.

      • February 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        Hey, Jeanie
        I tend to draw facebook folks to my blog website instead of posting several photos in a facebook photo album.
        So far my Anthony & Dennis post has garnered 231 hits in just one day.

  5. Timothy Parker
    February 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Congratulations to you both! I so wish I could have been there — but I was celebrating with you in spirit from snowy Vermont. Peace, health, and sweet content be yours, dear friends!!

  6. February 25, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Thank you Bob. Stunning pics, as always, and beautiful words. So sorry to miss the event, but I feel like I experienced it a bit now!–Greg

  7. Pamela RW Kandt
    February 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Just the photos made me cry. What a holy day!!

  8. Joan
    February 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I’m just curious: since they were already married, why the big celebration in Texas?

    • February 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Hey, Joan
      The New York City marriage was civil. The couple wanted to celebrate their lifelong covenant in their own church in Austin.

  9. February 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Beautiful Photos!

  10. February 26, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Hey, folks
    Thanks for all the kind words about my blog post of words and photos from the historic Blessing of Anthony and Dennis’ Lifelong Covenant at St. David’s Church here in Austin Feb 23. The response continues to be stunning. There were 833 visits to my website on Monday Feb 25 – almost double the previous highest hits mark that was set two years ago. Sunday’s total was 280 hits. As I write this early afternoon Tuesday Feb 26 there are 240 hits. Wow.

    • February 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      One of those hits last night was from my computer, when I showed a client who is getting her MDiv from Baylor the pics of the ceremony. I’d been telling her that St. D’s was going to get to do it, but I hadn’t told her when. When I showed her the pics last night after we finished ediing, she was impressed and moved to tears. “I want this for my church,” she said.

    • February 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Nice, Jenny … really Nice … tell your friend that Greg Garrett, Baylor faculty member and St David’s parishioner, thinks likewise … see his comments above

  11. Irene
    February 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Beautifully done, in spirit, in ceremony, and in pictures! You truly captured a real and sacred moment on film, Bob…as always!

  12. March 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks, Irene
    It was historic, sacred and fun to photograph … indeed. Bob

  13. March 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    What a wonderful experience! Blessings to you both! Though I don’t know you-all am a renegade ELCA retired pastor, just for information purposes: is the “witnessing and blessing of a Lifelong Covenant the Episcopal version of not using the word “Marriage,” (which is what it is? I’m assumming so. Will I be allowed/permitted to do this at Ascension in Cloudcroft, with permission of the Bishop? That would be a great experience. I would hate to be ex-communicated by the Episcopal Bishop for doing so. I don’t THINK my Bishop in the Northern Texas – Louisiana Synod would disapprove, but, as in other things, “What he don’t know won’t hurt him.” Paul Frerking/ELCA pastor, Meridian, Tx. and fill in Priest for Ascension Church, Cloudcroft. Could see this happening at the local Anglican Church!

    • March 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Paul. Don’t know if the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas has okayed the process that the Diocese of Texas has set up. Your friends Tim and David have been my neighbors one block away for 15-plus years.

  1. June 26, 2015 at 6:27 pm

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