When gay dads John and Michael Sawyer struggled to adopt a child into their family, they found solace in the welcoming congregation at Saint Matthew’s Catholic Church in Baltimore.
Now the pair have successfully adopted their daughter, Rosie, they want to make sure they pass on their Christian faith and values to their child.
In a touching and intimate video, created by filmmaker Eric Kruszewski, the pair document their daughter’s baptism, and share the support they have received from their congregation.
‘It’s important for both of us that Rosie grow up in the Church, knowing that’s our belief system, and for me, [baptism is] her initiation into the church community,’ Michael said.
Traditionally Catholicism does not support same-sex relationships or adoption by same-sex parents, but Saint Matthew’s Church has created a safe space for a diverse community through a mission known as LEAD (LGBT Educating and Affirming Diversity).
Now, more than 50 people – LGBTI people and straight allies – benefit from the friendship and support offered by the congregation.
‘The kind of support St. Matthew’s has given us has been tremendous,’ they explain.
‘Tremendous in the sense of a place where can go and honor our relationship with each other.
‘When we were going through our difficulty with adoption, it was a place we could go to cry and center ourselves spiritually.’
Watch the pair baptizing their daughter below:
Eric Kruszewski’s work focuses on ‘people who have undergone transitions in life, individuals and groups who are marginalized by society and unique subcultures that might not receive mainstream attention’.
You can watch his series on LGBTI Catholics at St Matthew’s Church, ‘The Lost Flock’ on his website or follow him on Instagram/Twitter.