March 28, 2009
March 26, 2009
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT TO MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
OF THE OPEN DOORS CHAPTER OF MORE LIGHT PRESBYTERIANS:
Please join us at the April 21 meeting where our Presbytery will vote on the question of whether to delete Amendment B from the Book of Order and thereby become a more welcoming and inclusive church for all God’s people. While non-commissioners have not been given an opportunity to speak, it is important to make our presence felt! So we want to have a strong showing of GLBT people and friends at the meeting, wearing rainbow scarves and offering them to any commissioner who would like to wear one in solidarity with us!
The April 21 meeting, which includes a dinner, is from 4 to 8 p.m. at the National Capital Presbyterian Church, 410 Nebraska Avenue N.W., http://www.natpresch.org/location.php. It is a five-block walk from the Tenleytown metro station and there is a big parking lot behind the church.
After the meeting, please join us at Guapo’s Restaurant for food and drink and fellowship – 4515 Wisconsin Avenue (across the street from the Tenleytown metro station). We don’t know how the vote will go yet – either in our Presbytery or nationally — but we have come a long way and we have a lot to be grateful for – so let’s celebrate!
We need you to do the following:
1. RSVP to Diane Curran (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know you are coming. And recruit your friends! We want to get at least 50 people to attend!
2. Sign up for the meeting by e-mailing Jeannie Spargur at email@example.com. (Presbytery is requiring people to sign up, and it will help them plan to have enough seats for us.)
3. Either bring $10 to pay for dinner or bring your own dinner.
4. If you can, come to the meeting 15 minutes early and help us hand out scarves to commissioners as they are coming in.
5. Wear comfortable shoes in case we have to stand. If there aren’t enough chairs, we will cycle people in and out of the room to take rest breaks.
6. If you are a knitter, we need you to help us make 100 rainbow scarves! Wendy Turman has yarn and instructions that she will distribute at church. Or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. MOST IMPORTANT — Come with joy in your heart, a prayerful attitude and love to share with your fellow More Light witnesses and the commissioners to the Presbytery.
Hope to see you there!
March 25, 2009
Once again justice has been denied in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered people. Lisa Larges’ move toward ordination has once again stalled. The complete stories can be found at: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=6728081, http://www.presbyweb.com/2009/News/NaegelivSFPdecision.pdf and www.tamfs.org
In her public statement on the ruling Lisa stated:
“This decision makes it abundantly clear that the Presbyterian church must remove the current prohibitory language that denies ordination to openly LGBT people and adopt a new policy. The amendment now being voted on across the country properly aligns our understanding of ministry with the mandates of first following Jesus. It gives presbyteries clear authority to recognize the gifts and call of candidates for ministry they believe are fully qualified, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Candidates, presbyteries and committees who have sought to act faithfully under the current constitution have only been rewarded with challenges and allegations. This decision fosters on-going confusion and demonstrates clearly just how unworkable the current policy is for those seeking a fair hearing.
“More than anything, I’m mindful of all the other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) candidates for ministry who only want to serve our church. The way forward for them need not be this complicated. This ruling, though technical in nature and limited in scope, nonetheless has deeply personal and painful repercussions for my life and in the lives of other LGBT people earnestly seeking to serve the church. For me, this ruling has already delayed my candidacy for ministry for over one year. I believe the best possible outcome of this decision would be that it will clarify the ordination process for other LGBT persons whose gifts, calls, faith and leadership the church cannot afford to lose. Procedural decisions like this, while important, pale in comparison to the greater urgency of removing all barriers to ordination for those who are called to freely serve the church. Right now, our Presbyteries have the best opportunity yet to vote for fairness, inclusion and welcome.”
Aren’t we all tired of this yet?
March 21, 2009
Rev. Bryan Franzen
Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church Highstown
Read during Fall Presbytery meeting
At the root of this issue before us today is whether or not people who are gay be able to receive and be received fully into the Body of the church? Let us not kid ourselves. Full inclusion for Gay and Lesbian people means that churches would not patronize the individual but reach out to include them in all of its sacraments, ceremonies, ordinances, and offices.
This is where the issue of ordination, and marriage, enter into the dialogue. When we accept GLBT people into the church we must truly accept them as full participants of the Body, not a weak link since they bring their gifts which God has bestowed on them. However I must state that I really do not think that the underlying issue is the sexual acts performed (or perceived to be performed). Rather, it is a power issue.
Through my ministry both here and in Iowa, I have had many discussions with Gay and Lesbian youth and adults. From their stories and struggles I have come to see the importance of working with them in ways that are not patronizing, but real and honest. And I have come to see, it is as unnatural for a homosexual to be in a heterosexual relationships as it would be for a heterosexual in a homosexual relationship.
I believe that the position that many churches currently hold against sexuality has nothing to do with the actions, rather it is a label bestowed by the group in power upon the those who have no power. I believe that this is rooted in our society and learned at an early age. I also have suspicion that the debate has far more to do with differentness than sexual orientation.
Thinking back to the schoolyard, I start my argument with the asexual term “Gay” which is often brought into a child’s vocabulary long before the child has a clue as to the sexual connotation of that word. Often the label Gay was given to the child that did not fit into the mainstream crowd. Also labeled Queer or Fag, the titles given to the child on the playground did not denote a sexual orientation or really have anything to do with sexual acts; they were a mark of separation from the norm of the greater culture.
As a child begins to develop their sexual identity, if they do have natural homosexual tendencies, they are often forced to make a choice of denying the primal understanding of themselves or accept being different from the power community and possibly reap the persecution. Even if they accept their sexual orientation, most of the time their openness within a community has little to do with the act of sex; rather it has to with honest relationship. Unfortunately, the persecution which they receive is based on perceived sexual acts, Also known as the unknown. People have a natural fear of the unknown, but to persecute people for that fear is wrong!
I do believe that the church’s current stance on homosexuality has very little to do with the actual act of homosexuality. It is an issue of power over the powerless!
The real question before us tonight is whether or not Gay and Lesbian people are part of the covenant with God. The answer, looking at the whole of the Bible has to be yes. GLBT people are not singled out nor are they restricted. In fact they are not even discussed outside of orgies and sex worship. As a community they are standing at the doors of our church and I think the ultimate fear of the members of the mainline church is that they may change us, maybe even force us to be honest and re-examine our relationship with God.
As a church we need to accept them and stop letting the fears of this world guide the relationship we have with God.
March 20, 2009
More Light friends and members:
The National Capital Presbytery will vote yes or no on the repeal of Amendment 08-B at a special meeting to be held on April 21, 2009, at National Capital Presbyterian Church.
Open Doors, the local More Light chapter, is encouraging our Presbytery to participate in a meaningful discernment process and vote “yes” on the amendment to repeal 08-B. We believe this process should include an opportunity for our GLBT members and friends to describe our own experience in the Presbyterian Church, how the current restrictions affect us, and why our Presbytery should vote “yes” on the amendment. (If you want to learn more about Amendment 08-B and the repeal efforts, check out the More Light website: http://www.mlp.org.)
The current process designed by the Presbytery does not necessarily provide a format for GLBT individuals and friends to have a voice in the discernment process and share their own experiences. Therefore, Open Doors has a number of ideas to create such opportunities, and you will learn more in future postings about suggestions for encouraging a “yes” on repeal of Amendment 08-B.
One of our efforts is that we are preparing to provide a chorus of voices speaking from personal experience at our April 21 Presbytery meeting. We would like to provide a packet of written statements — “witnesses” — that can be distributed at the meeting, with the goal of giving insight into the importance of complete GLBT inclusion in our church.
Please consider providing such a statement that can be distributed as part of a packet at the April 21 Presbytery meeting. Your statement can be as short as a few sentences, or it can be a full-page essay. You can write anonymously or not. You can create a group statement, or provide a personal message. You can make your statement with words, or you can provide a piece of visual art (as long as we can photocopy it!). PLEASE give us your statement about “Why it matters to me that National Capital Presbytery votes “yes” on Amendment 08-B.”
Statements must be forwarded to Sherry Trafford, email@example.com, as soon as possible. In order to be included in the packet for the Presbytery meeting, statements must be received by April 14.
Thank you for lending your voice in our efforts!
March 19, 2009
Many of us are following what is happening in San Fran Presbytery with Lisa Larges. The Advocate had this article today giving the lowdown. Her case can be followed through That All May Freely Serve’s twitter updates. Here is the link to the article:
March 19, 2009
March 18, 2009
Rev. David Ensign just sent me an email directing me to Clarendon Presbyterian Church’s new Website! It can be found at http://clarendonpresbyterian.org/
March 18, 2009
Richard Cizik lost his position at the powerful evangelical lobbying group National Association of Evangelicals for saying that his position on gay marriage was shifting toward civil unions on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Richard Cizik has been stirring the evangelical pot with his support of environmental stewardship and interfaith dialogue. He will be delivering the Snowdon lecture at Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday, April 16 from 4:30 until 6 p.m. Memorial is located on 4301 Nebraska Avenue, NW. The name of the lecture will be “Hearing Each Other, Healing the Earth.” The Snowdon Lectures are an annual lecture series sponsored by the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.
March 18, 2009
In a state that started the move toward prohibition of alcohol clergy met with lawmakers to push for gay marriage. Read more at: