The Romany Gospel

Discussion in 'Personal Advice, Care & Prayers' started by Lowly Layman, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    1,827
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    American Anglican
    Hi guys, I have a question especially for my friends across the pond. I am married to my high school sweet heart. We've been together for almost 18 years, which means that for more than half my life, I've been lucky enough to be with my soul-mate. She is smart, articulate, funny, and the greatest wife and mother I've ever known. She is also a Romany. Her family immigrated from England just before WWI. Of course they had to lie and say they were Welsh to get citizenship, since their ethnicity made them persona non grata in most of the world for most of modern history. Which brings me to my question.

    My wife has a hard time embracing institutional religion, since she has had such a difficult time getting it to embrace her or her people. This is especially true with the Anglican church, given the kind of prejudice and bigotry her family suffered in England (and still suffers to a lesser extent) but also in the TEC, where her family had children baptized in the church but was given the distinct impression that another denomination would be better suited for them. Even today, implicit and explicit forms of anti-romanyism exist. My own bone-headed brother, when he found out my then girlfriend was a "gypsy", ran to his Methodist pastor to find out if she was "OK". He reported that the pastor said it was alright for me to date her (like I needed his permission, or my brother's for that matter) but said that the pastor shook his head and said "well, we're all sinners" and that he'd pray for me. I agree we're all sinners, but since when did being born in a certain ethnic group qualify as a sin?

    Even recently, I've been in services where, out of nowhere, the priest or pastor will make a joke about "gypsies" that puts them in a bad light. This is upsetting for me, especially when my children are with me, because it sends what I consider to be an essentially racist message to them that I cannot stand for. In fact, just the other day I was listening to a contemporary Christian radio station and a song came on with the lyric "When Death, like a Gypsy, comes to steal what I love..." wha?? What with all the new, disrespectful shows featuring "gypsies" on TLC, I fear these negative stereotypes will only become more prominent. What other race or ethnic group is it ok to demonize and belittle?

    What I'd like to know from my English cousins is, has the C of E tried to make inroads into evangelizing the Romany? Have they tried to work for social justice for the Romany people, and fight for their rights and human dignity? My wife is baptized in the TEC, but she keeps the church at arm's length because she doesn't feel accepted. What info can I give her that will change her mind?
     
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    1,827
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    American Anglican
    Personally, I try to use Romany because "Gypsy" is an offensive and inaccurate appellation to the Romany people.
     
  3. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    247
    Likes Received:
    337
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    Anglican, CofE
    I believe that a couple of English Dioceses provide Chaplains to 'Gypsies, Travellers and Roma'. (Salisbury and St Albans). Some individual Parishes are also involved in outreach work although more could be done. The Priest in our neighbouring Parish does some outreach and there is a traveller there who occasionally attends the mid-week Communion service and reads the Epistle.

    Salisbury Chaplain:

    http://tinyurl.com/d72otfd

    http://www.countrysidematters.org.uk/countryside/travellers/travellers.html
     
    Lowly Layman likes this.
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    1,827
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    American Anglican
    Many thanks Symphorian!
     

Share This Page