I was talking with my friend, John, recently about the wonderfully vigorous national conversation about marriage sparked last month by the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA. John agreed with a politician who publicly expressed a fear that straight people might pretend to be gay so that they could get the special benefits of having a “gay marriage.” I shared with him how this made no sense to me.
A fresh wind seems to be blowing these days. We see it in the decisive election of President Barack Obama to a second term and in the confirmation of marriage equality in Maine, Maryland and Washington state, along with the defeat of a restrictive constitutional amendment on marriage in Minnesota. We also see it in my church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as we adjust to the opening of ordination to all qualified and called members (including our LGBT faithful) and in the first-ever discussion of same-sex marriage at our bi-annual General Assembly.2012 has certainly served up the potential for a momentous 2013 even as we recognize that there are still formidable challenges before us.
The 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is written in the Book of Life. I was present in a far different way than I envisioned, as my husband’s sudden health problems and multiple surgeries meant resignation as a commissioner (he is recovering nicely—THANKS for your prayers!). However, since GA was in my hometown, I was able to attend some committee meetings and the events held by More Light Presbyterians. I also watched the assembly on its live internet streaming, particularly when it took up the recommendations of the Civil Union and Marriage Committee.
With an immensely heavy heart for a host of reasons, I have informed the Stated Clerk that I am stepping down from standing for the office of moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Recently, I was invited to preach at Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church, an open and affirming church up in Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, when my husband got ill and needed to be hospitalized, I had to cancel my trip to Madrona at the last minute. In anticipation of my time at Madrona Grace, I had prepared a sermon and I want to share it with you here as the second part in a series of posts on the Biblical roots of why I stay in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Thanks to all for your well wishing and prayers. As I continue to help my husband back to health, I feel blessed that I began work on a number of different pieces for my blog a while back. Today I’d like to share a story about a remarkable woman named Lynn Coghill. Lynn is a popular teacher at the University of Pittsburgh and a lay minister in the Community of Reconciliation, a church in my Presbytery in Pittsburgh
Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba and Doreen Duba sent this prayer to us after being reminded of it by Thomas Merton’s prayer posted on March 18, 2012. It has a similar theme of asking for courage to follow unknown paths, exactly what we are all doing as we reform into the PCUSA that is to be. It is one of the prayers suggested at the end of Morning Prayer in The Book of Common Worship.
In my introductory video, I mentioned that even though my views have often not prevailed through the years, I have stayed in my church home, committed to one Lord, one faith, one baptism. During this Eastertide, I want to share with you more of my thoughts on this, particularly, what I see as the biblical basis for us all to work together to be One in Christ.
I am blessed and thrilled to announce that the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Krehbiel, pastor at the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C., National Capital Presbytery, will stand with me as my candidate for Vice Moderator. Jeff inspires me by the way his ministry has the qualities of joy and transforming power that we all desire in the PCUSA.
Holy Week always invites such an intense mixture of feelings. There is the raucous fun of Palm Sunday, the contention of the debates with the powers that be, apprehension at Jesus’ predictions of what is to come, the intimacy of the upper room, the anguish of the trial and execution, the mournful pause on Saturday—dwelling on the loss and holding at bay the exhilaration of Easter. With this wealth of emotion, Holy Week is really a microcosm of life.