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Update

VOL. 31, NO. 2 WWW.MLP.ORG MAY 2011

Celebrate! 10-A Passes: A Place at the Table for All


By Michael Adee

T housands of Presbyterians all ourselves, we can absolutely trust affirming More Light church in Par-
across the country are express- God to be making a bigger Table. adise Valley, AZ. As she describes
ing their hopes and dreams for a This is what the passage of 10-A her faith journey and discipleship,
Church that: does for our Church; it makes the I can identify with her. Deb said to
Table bigger with plenty of space her presbytery about 10-A: “I don’t
• reflects the heart of God by em- and room for all. have a radical conversion story or an
bracing all persons, encyclopedic knowledge of scripture
All of us can be Presbyterians liv-
• embraces a “no boundaries” and our confessions. What I have
ing into hope -- the Biblical image
Gospel that is “good news” for all is a journey of faith-filled hope and
captured so beautifully in the Jane
persons, not just some, some obedient steps in the direction
Parker Huber hymn, “Live into
I believe God is calling me to go.
• celebrates ordination Hope.” We can keep sharing our
There are two questions that
standards that will now I believe we need to ask our-
focus again on faith and selves before we vote: What
character rather than are we hoping for and what
marital status or sexual are we afraid of?”
orientation,
I believe we need to keep
• does not discriminate! asking ourselves and each
However some people are other these two questions as
expressing fears about these we find ourselves living into
changes. When you encoun- the passage and implementa-
ter a Presbyterian minister tion of 10-A: “What are we
or elder speaking of their hoping for and what are
fears that the passage of we afraid of?”
10-A means that there is There is a place at God’s
not a place for them in Table for all, let us “fear
the Church, assure them not” and live into hope. My
that this is simply not personal mantra for the
true. Kindly remind them 10-A outreach campaign and
to “fear not!” and to trust often expressed in my writing
God that there is a place at was to “keep praying, believ-
God’s Table for all. “Fear faith, hope
ing and working.” I knew
not” is said 365 times in and dreams for the
all along that the need for praying,
Scripture. Such frequency Church to be more open, loving,
believing and working for a Church
ought to make people who take compassionate and just than it is
that reflects God’s heart would not
Scripture seriously take notice and now. Let no one take away your
end the day 10-A was ratified. In
follow this counsel to fear not, have hope and dreams for our Church to
real, tangible and exciting ways the
faith, and trust God. Christ invites be all that God is calling it to be-
work has just begun.
all to the Table. This is God’s Table come.
with room for all. Dr. Michael Adee is Executive Direc-
Rev. Debra Avery spoke of hope
tor and Field Organizer for More
Instead of trying to rearrange the and fear during the 10-A discussion
Light Presbyterians.
furniture or squeeze people out of in Grand Canyon Presbytery. Deb
existing chairs so we can get one for serves as pastor at Palo Cristi Pres- Photos: February MLP Board Meeting in
byterian Church, a welcoming and Kansas City, Missouri.
More Light Update, May 2011 | 1
The Consequences Will Surprise You
While I was on sabbatical in the fall of 2001, to believe, a demonstration and celebration
my congregation approved nominees for of God’s infinite and all embracing love.
elder and deacon. One nominee was Sally,
Since that day, the Lord has blessed us.
a long-time Presbyterian and a beloved
Many estranged believers are returning.
member, who was also a lesbian in a long-
Many “un-churched” are coming in. Our
term relationship.
Sunday School is bursting and our youth
I was shocked and dismayed. My deep group keeps growing. Our youth speak out
evangelical foundations shook. I feared that – proud and grateful for their church that
the roof would fall in. I feared a divided publicly welcomes gays and lesbians.
congregation. I was pretty sure the Session
By God’s grace we meet our Presbytery’s
was not of one mind on this matter. And
shared mission “askings” and support all
I was right. It wasn’t.
denominational special offerings. We have
Yes, Sally and her partner cared for each added staff and undertaken several building
other in sickness and in health. But there projects. All of this since the day I thought
were serious constitutional standards that the roof would fall in.
the Session could not, and would not,
I now believe that all the pious and proper
ignore or defy.
polity explanations in the world would never
Session recessed for a week to reexamine have had the evangelical power of that one
the Book of Confessions, Book of Order and simple, public act of ordination to ministry.
Bible in light of this pending decision. When
It’s true, I was afraid. But the consequences
it reconvened, each elder spoke – some for
surprised me. “Behold,” says the Lord, “I am
ordination, some against. Elders listened
doing a new thing, can you not see it?”
to each other’s reasons. Then we took a
(I saIah 43:19)
20-minute recess to be alone, pray and
listen to the Spirit. Behold, says the Lord, I am doing a new thing.
Can you not see it?
When we came back together, each elder,
one by one, offered reasons – supported by And I say to you, my brothers and sisters:
the Bible and the church constitution – for Rejoice. Be not afraid.
his or her vote. As it turns out, one critical
question that focused the Session’s mind
In Christ,
was: Would our Beloved Lord Jesus ever call
a 25-year, covenanted relationship of love Rev. DR. RanDall TRemba
and care unholy? Minister of Word & Sacrament
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church
The outcome wasn’t at all what I anticipated. Shepherdstown, West Virginia
The vote was unanimous – all ten for Graduate of Wheaton College (1969)
ordination! I was stunned. It was, as I came and Fuller Theological Seminary (1973)

To learn more about Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church you can visit: http://bit.ly/RevTremba

2 | More Light Update, May 2011


Los Angeles Times Editorial: F ollowing the risen Christ, and
seeking to make the Church a
true community of hospitality, the
Gay rights and the church’s evolving role mission of More Light Presbyte-
As public opinion on gay rights shifts, religious institu- rians is to work for the full par-
ticipation of lesbian, gay, bisexual
tions find they have a role to play on the issue. and transgender people of faith in
the life, ministry and witness of
the Presbyterian Church (USA).

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Co-Moderators
Janet Edwards (2013)
Trice Gibbons (2012)

Secretary/Treasurer
Rev. Ray Bagnuolo (2012)

Additional Board Members


Ralph Carter (2011)
Jed Dews-Alexander (2013)
Patrick Evans (2013)
Rev. Madeline Jervis (2013)
Marc Jung (2013)
The Rev. Bear Ride, left, and her spouse, the Rev. Susan Craig, celebrate with Brian Symonds, Will McGarvey (2011)
who hopes to become the first openly gay person ordained by the Pacific Presbytery. (Robert Rev. Heidi Peterson (2011)
Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / May 10, 2011) Jeananne Stine (2013)

R eligious institutions in this country that object to homosexuality have John Thompson (2012)
nothing to fear from the gay-rights movement. Freedom of religion con- Beth Van Sickle (2011)
stitutionally protects them from having to perform same-sex marriages or David Wiltshire (2011)
elevate gays and lesbians to the clergy.
Nominating Committee
Yet as society opens itself to new viewpoints over time, those perspectives in-
Derrick Kikuchi
fluence people of faith. So it was that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) this
week voted to allow the ordination of gay ministers, elders and deacons. In
doing so, it joined three other mainstream churches, including the Episcopal STAFF
Church.
Dr. Michael J. Adee,
In the legal sphere, there is supposed to be a bright line between church and Executive Director and Field Or-
state. The relationship between the two is far more complicated, though, ganizer
when it comes to the realities of social evolution. Americans’ views on gay
rights have been undergoing a rapid and dramatic change toward accep- Faye Burdick
tance. That change is reflected in public policy shifts that have the U.S. More Light Update Editor
military moving away from the troubling days of “don’t ask, don’t tell,”
that allow adoption by same-sex couples in many states and that, in a few, Antony Hebblethwaite,
provide official recognition of gay and lesbian unions. It was inevitable that Communications/Technology
religious congregants, affected by the more tolerant viewpoints in the secular Manager
world, would begin asking questions about long-held beliefs in their houses
of worship. Susan Robertson,
Tuesday’s stamp of approval from a venerable institution will further influ- Financial Assistant
ence public opinion. No doubt, some people of faith will never accept homo-
sexuality, and they have that right. But this welcome move by the Presbyte- CONTACT MLP
rian Church (U.S.A.) indicates that religion has a role to play in this nation’s
lurching progress toward gay rights. Full contact information at
Copyright © 2011 Los Angeles Times. Reprinted with Permission. http://www.mlp.org/index.
php?topic=aboutmlp.
Top 10 Amendment 10-A stories at http://www.amendment10a.org/p/top10.html
More Light Update, May 2011 | 3
W e your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender brothers and sisters
want nothing more than to be able to follow Christ, worship God and
serve the Church. The ratification of 10-A will allow us to do all of these
things with integrity and honesty.”
Elder Nathan Sobers, Seattle Presbytery. 10-A vote was 103 yes, 126 no.

O ur history reveals that when exclusions and fears disappear, the fruits
of the spirit are planted. By seeing each other as God sees us, as the
Beloved, our eyes and hearts are opened to see these fruits reflected in one
another.”
Katie Turpen, Young Adult Volunteer, Presbytery of South Louisiana. 10-A
vote was 46 yes, 28 no.

J acob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’ (Genesis 32:26). So,
too, I think we lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons have been
wrestling with this church and its discriminatory policy that has been used
to prevent us from claiming the equality promised to us by Christ Jesus, an
equality sealed by our baptism and remembered each time we share a com-
mon loaf and cup with our heterosexual sisters and brothers.”
Elder Brian W. Spolarich, Presbytery of Detroit. 10-A vote was 113 yes, 66
no.

I wonder if we might find hope in our confessional tradition that calls us to


a culture of reconciliation, forgiveness, and humility as we trust that the
Holy Spirit will work in and through the messiness even when we don’t have
it all figured out.”
Rev. Debra Avery, Grand Canyon Presbytery. 10-A Vote was 84 yes, 53 no.

Elder Trudy Warren

I ’ve known you, the Presbyterian Church, my whole life. You gave my fam- Presbytery of Donegal
ily a roof over our heads when my parents were married at 18 and couldn’t
afford a home. You gave me the youth group that was a respite from my fa-
ther’s alcoholism and abuse. You gave me the summer camp where I met my
wife, the love of my life. You sent me to seminary where I cultivated a pas-
sion for ministry. You blessed me with ordination. You are the Church I’ve
known my whole life. I’ve loved you, and I want to spend the rest of my life
with these words on my lips for my generation and my daughter’s genera-
tion, ‘Look! See the church I know…we are the church Jesus calls us to be!’”
Rev. Nate Philips, New Castle Presbytery. 10-A vote was 79 yes, 34 no.

I n these matters I speak from personal experience. We’re 4th generation


Presbyterians and yet our daughter, a child of the covenant, a believer in
Jesus Christ, belongs to another denomination because she is lesbian and
didn’t feel welcome in this the church of her birth and baptism.”
Elder Libby Davis, Presbytery of Redwoods. 10-A vote was a standing vote of
yes.

4 | More Light Update, May 2011


I know I am loved as a child of God, as are all gays and lesbians, as are all
Elder Nathan Sobers
Seattle Presbytery persons. My efforts to be in relationship with God are part of a desire to
serve the church I’ve grown to love. In my heart I am answering God’s call.
To deny any gay or lesbian person the opportunity to serve as an Elder and
Deacon is to deny our call to be in relationship with God through service in
our faith community.”
Elder Megan Kashoun, Presbytery of Cincinnati. 10-A vote was 99 yes, 72 no.

O n a beautiful March Saturday, I wasn’t optimistic regarding a “yes” vote


on amendment 10-A. The Review Committee of Donegal Presbytery rec-
ommended a “no” vote. We listened respectfully to three-minute “pro” and
“con” speeches. Some were quite compelling. I wondered if these speeches
would change anyone’s mind. After lunch, we voted. A bit of tension was in
the air as we waited for the tally. Then the moderator read: “Yes, 83; No,
80; 1 abstention.” It was not a landslide, but a pivotal point for us. The room
was quiet and then someone suggested we join in singing “Blessed Be the
Tie That Binds.” Truly, moments to remember.
Elder Trudy Warren, Presbytery of Donegal. 10-A vote was 83 yes, 80 no.

I t’s hard to build a church as big as God’s love. It was hard for the dis-
ciples, and it’s hard for us. Passing 10-A is one simple way to help in our
building such a church.”
Rev. Steve Runholt, Presbytery of Western North Carolina. 10-A vote was
145 yes, 99 no.

I sat on the GA committee that discerned, prayed about, and recommended


the language which is now Amendment 10-A. As a committee, we saw
the struggle of those who came to speak to us, and we recognized that each
person who spoke…regardless of their opinion…sought to be faithful follow-
ers of Christ.”
Abby Mohaupt, Candidate for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament at Mc-
Cormick Seminary and Blackhawk Presbytery. 10-A vote was 66 yes, 46 no.

I believe it’s time to make room for those of different perspectives to live
together in love, grace, and faith. So here we stand…instead of wrestling,
how about we dance? How about we make room for all who would follow Je-
sus our Lord, and dance each other out of the muck and into the kingdom?”
Rev. Paul R. Heins, Presbytery of Utah. 10-A vote was 30 yes, 25 no.

T hough it took me years to arrive at this point, I am among many who no


longer believe that homosexuality is sinful in and of itself. Nor are com-
mitted, monogamous relationships between same-gendered couples. And I
don’t take this stance in spite of Scripture, but because of Scripture.”
Rev. Todd Freeman, Presbytery of Eastern Oklahoma. 10-A vote was 55 yes,
53 no.

Abby Mahaupt
Blackhawk Presbytery

More Light Update, May 2011 | 5


What’s Next? Entering a New Era of Equality
M ore Light Presbyterians, the
Presbyterian Church (USA)
and the global Presbyterian Church
Church of Christ, the Episcopalian
Church and the Evangelical Luther-
an Church in America as denomina-
been working for justice and equal-
ity since 1974 when the Rev. David
Sindt became the first openly gay
took their first step into a new era of tions who have eliminated official minister in our Church. We are
equality on May 10 when 10-A was barriers to full membership, leader- grateful for the work that still lies
ratified. ship and service for LGBT persons. before us. We need to nurture and
support churches to ex-
This new ordination
tend calls to LGBT can-
policy goes into effect
didates and help those
on July 10. While this
candidates through the
new ordination policy
process for ordination
applies only to the PC
in their particular pres-
(USA), it does provide
byteries.
an important example,
teaching and witness for Above all, we need to
the global Presbyterian help the whole church
Church. There see that the affirmation
are Presbyte- of LGBT persons and
rians in over their families is a prac-
100 countries. tical application of
In at least 70 of the Gospel mes-
these countries sage that God
LGBT persons in Christ cre-
and their families ates and loves
are vulnerable us all. Proclaim-
to punishment, ing the Gospel
imprisonment and lasts a lifetime.
even death for sim- 10-A is a liberat-
ply being who they ing gift for our
are or falling in love Church. Together
with someone of the we are building a
same gender. So, our Church that reflects
This is
pro-LGBT work mat- God’s heart.
indeed a historic moment in the
ters within and beyond
life of the PC(USA), but also in the
the PC(USA).
worldwide Christian communion. Photos: Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Visit the
Presbyterians join the United
More Light Presbyterians have church at http://www.spcworks.org/

Ten Things You Can Do to Help Implement 10-A in Your


Church & Presbytery
1. Celebrate the ratification of 10-A within your local church.
2. Learn everything you can about 10-A so that you can explain it to others (http://www.amendment10a.org).
3. Make sure your Session has a copy of the text of 10-A (http://www.amendment10a.org/p/campaign-resources.
html).
4. Create conversations about how 10-A will guide ordination processes within your congregation.
5. Ensure that the care of seminary students and candidates for ministry is informed by 10-A.
6. Continue education on gender, sexuality, marriage and LGBT affirmation.
7. Host a church forum to discuss the ways 10-A can inspire new pro-LGBT ministries.
8. Meet with your presbytery’s Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk to discuss 10-A.
9. Serve on the CPM or COM in your presbytery to support the fair practice of 10-A.
10. Nurture mission partnerships with Presbyterian congregations around the world.
6 | More Light Update, May 2011
From Presbytery of San Francisco Meeting April 12, 2011
M y name is Laurene Chan. I’m
an elder of the English-speak-
ing worshiping community of the
transparently enter the ordination
process. Because there is a chance
that one day when they’re older, Ian
generation Chinese American, UC
Berkeley graduate, US Army Medi-
cal Unit soldier, church elder, and
Presbyterian Church in Chinatown. or Tully will say to me, “Mom, I’m Public Health Inspector for the City
I am married with two boys: Ian is gay, and I feel God is calling me into and County of Marin was denied the
10 and Tully is 7. As a second gen- ordained ministry.” God forbid they right to buy a home in Marin. My
eration Presbyterian, I grew-up in would be denied their call, solely parents were told: “This neighbor-
the church listening to the Bible sto- hood doesn’t sell to Chinese”.
ries of God’s amazing love for people.
God alone is judge. Yet throughout
These stories were examples of how
history, we as humans have as-
I was to live my life… modeled after
sumed that power without much of
Jesus Christ… to love, to accept, and
the responsibility that comes with it.
to bring back into community those
We judge our neighbor, when we are
who society had put on the outside.
supposed to love them.
Ian and Tully were both baptized
At times a candidate is presented
as infants. They were told that they
that I could not see being my pastor
were now set apart as children of
or a good fit for my church. But be-
God. The congregation promised to
cause I believe that the candidate’s
help bring-up Ian and Tully in the
gifts, character and faith would be
faith. Pastors and church-school
a blessing to some church or other
teachers told them that God loves
ordained ministry, I support the
them just the way they are. So it
candidate’s movement through the
pains me, when I hear yet another
ordination process. And just to be
story of a baptized child as a grown
clear, 10-A would oblige no congre-
person and has the courage to come
gation to call a pastor that they did
out as a LGBT person, is shunned,
based on their sexual orientation. not see as a fit for their church. With
excluded, avoided, made fun of, and
What about their gifts… their char- 10-A comes the opportunity and
judged harshly. What happened
acter…their faith? What about their permission for many of our sister
to our promise of raising this child
baptism? and brother churches to extend a
in the community of faith? What
call to someone they have discerned
happened to those years of telling I stand in solidarity with my LGBT
God has prepared to serve in their
this child that she is a child of God, sisters and brothers. As an American
church. That is good news!
wonderfully made in the image of a of Chinese ancestry, I can speak to
loving God? the discrimination and prejudices Presbytery of San Francisco’s vote on
that my ancestors lived through. 10-A was 198 Yes, 143 No.
I hope that one day very soon, all
My grandparents were incarcer-
who feel called to the ordained min-
ated on Angel Island because they
istry of God can freely, safely, and
were Chinese. My father, a second- Photo: Laurene Chan

Make It Better: More Light Sunday 2011


We chose the first Sunday in June for More Light Sunday (any Sunday in June will work) in recognition that June
is the tradition of LGBT or Gay Pride Month in most cities. Pride celebrations were first held in June to honor
the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, a watershed moment in the LGBT equal rights
movement. We encourage each welcoming church, campus ministry or MLP Chapter to consider ways you can be
part of your local or state Pride celebration.
More Light Sunday 2011 is the perfect opportunity to be together and make it better for LGBT youth in our
churches, schools and communities. 2011 is the eighth year of the annual tradition of celebrating the presence,
faith and gifts that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their parents and families bring to the life,
ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
For some great ideas about mission actions you can do within your church and community, we commend to you
the More Light Sunday webpage -- http://www.mlp.org/article.php/MoreLightSunday2011
Mark Your Calendars: RainbowCorps: New Orleans 2011
Join RainbowCorps:New Orleans between November 14-18 and help New Orleans continue to rebuild after Hur-
ricane Katrina. You may come for 4 days or 1 or 2 days. Local commuters are welcome!
More Light Update, May 2011 | 7
More Light Presbyterians
4737 Country Road 101
PMB 246
Minnetonka, MN 55345-2634

Open your Heart. Transform the Church. Change the World.


M ore Light Presbyterians was
founded in 1974. We believe
that all persons are children of God,
ings of scripture and the Word in the
life of Christ. As a Christian com-
munity, we believe that the Church
created in the image of God and must seek to live out those under-
unconditionally loved by God. We standings in our life together.
believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual
The achievement of spiritual, ordina-
and transgender persons are part of More Light Presbyterians tion and marriage equality for per-
God’s good creation. We believe that 4737 County Road 101, PMB 246 sons of all sexual orientations and
the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good Minnetonka, MN 55345-2634 gender identities guides our national
news for all persons, no exceptions.
For all members, elders, deacons, and global outreach. We approach
Our mission: “Following the risen ministers, friends, churches & ministry from the perspective of
Christ, and seeking to make the presbyteries within the Presbyte- intersectionality by recognizing that
Church a true community of hos- rian Church (USA) and the world- all forms of prejudice and discrimi-
pitality, the mission of More Light wide Presbyterian Church. nation are unacceptable and harmful
Presbyterians is to work for the full to our life together in the Church
participation of lesbian, gay, bisexu- For up to the minute news and as one human family.
al and transgender people of faith in visit us at:
We envision, pray and work for the
the life, ministry and witness of the
www.mlp.org day when God’s realm of love, peace
Presbyterian Church (USA).”
and justice is realized. We welcome
We are incorporated as a 501(c)3 you to join us as we are changing the
global mission.
non-profit religious educational face of Christianity.
organization. MLP is a national We are individual members and
grassroots organization governed by congregations of the Presbyterian
a Board of Directors and served by a Church (USA) who strive to be faith-
national staff. We raise 100% of our ful to God’s call. We believe that God
income to support this national and continues to open new understand-

Creating a Church that reflects God’s heart.


8 | More Light Update, May 2011
MLP CELEBRATION 2011
Reflecting God’s Heart
The National Conference of More Light Presbyterians
Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY
September 2-4, 2011

Keynote Speakers
Dr. Margaret Aymer Oget
Professor of New Testament at John-
son C. Smith Theological Seminary at
the Interdenominational Theological
Center in Atlanta, GA

Cynthia Bolbach
Moderator, 219th General Assembly

Conference Hotels
You are responsible for making your own lodging reservations. We have a spe-
cial “MLP” block of rooms at discounted rates at The Strathallan Hotel (dead-
line, August 2) and the East Avenue Inn (deadline, August 19).

The Strathallen Hotel East Avenue Inn


550 East Avenue 384 East Ave.
Rochester, NY 14607 Rochester, NY 14607
800.678.7284 800.559.8039
reservations@strathallan.com eastaveinn@yahoo.com

Information & Registration


For more information and to register, visit http://www.mlp.org (click “Register
Now! at the top) or call Susan Robertson at 952-941-6494 to request a paper
registration form.
10 Affirmations of
LGBT Spirituality

Religion & Spirituality Working Group of Voices for a


New Tomorrow, Pittsburgh, PA
1. We celebrate the unity we create in the midst of our diversity.

2. We affirm the inherent beauty, worth, and dignity of every LGBT


and straight person.

3. There are many paths to the sacred. The spiritual paths of LGBT
persons are among them.

4. The choice is not whether to be LGBT or straight but whether or


not to live an authentic life.

5. Coming out is a courageous and spiritual act.

6. Sexual expression is one of the many sacred ways that LGBT and
straight adults can express the depth of love in their relationships.

7. We support each person’s journey of integrating spirituality and


sexuality which leads to wholeness.

8. Marriage is a sacred union for people who are committed to each


other without regard to gender. Love makes a family.

9. Spiritual leaders must take responsibility to lead, protect, and af-


firm LGBT people: children, adults, and their families.

10. No one is free when others are oppressed.