Click here for items on
sexual justice in 2010.
Items on sexual justice from past years are
Partners in Faith
applauds New York governor for signing non-discrimination bill into law
"Be careful who you hate.
It may be someone you love."
Posted on a billboard along Interstate 77 in South
Carolina by PFLAG.
Thanks to Barbara Kellam Scott
update on Jensen's many complaints against gay ordination [10-19-02]
Paul Rolf Jensen has become a noteworthy figure in the
campaign against the ordination of glbt people in the Presbyterian
Church, primarily through the many complaints he has filed against
people whose ordination he considers invalid, or who have acted in other
ways that he views as violating one provision or another of the Book of
Order. (He prefers to call them accusations.)
Jensen has provided to the Layman a helpful update on
the status of his various complaints, so just in case you're interested,
and having trouble keeping up with them all, he's provided you with some
helpful information. Of course he views all these cases from his own
invitation to worship and celebrate
the great gifts and diversity of all God's people
Reformation Sunday Worship;
Re-Affirmation of Ordination Vows by LGBT Persons
October 27, 2002 -- 3 PM
South Presbyterian Church
343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
October 14, 2002
[posted here 10-15-02]
Christian conscience calls us together to support our
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) sisters and brothers.
Churches and individuals from across the Tri-State Area of New York,
Connecticut, and New Jersey will celebrate the gifts and diversity of all
God's people on Reformation Sunday at South Presbyterian Church, Dobbs
Ferry, New York.
Sponsored by Presbyterian Promise, Presbyterian Welcome,
and the Dissenting Churches of Hudson River Presbytery, we invite you to
join us for an historic gathering to clearly demonstrate the welcoming and
affirming communities within many of the churches of the Presbyteries of
New York City, Hudson River, and New England.
We encourage you to bring with you a "Statement of
Reformation" that focuses on the violence or other issues associated
with G-6.0106b and those whom it wishes to exclude from the full worship,
work, and leadership of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
State your vision of a reforming church; nail your
thesis to the door. We will provide the spikes and hammers; you bring the
pounding of your hearts, and depths of your consciences. Statements of
faith, vision, and mission; letters of dissent and defiance; quotes that
capture your soul and need to speak to ours; blank sheet stained with the
tears of this struggle, the names of those targeted, or both -- all will
bear witness that in this church of ours the Reformation continues.
The day's worship and action will include preaching by
the Rev. Hal Porter, Pastor Emeritus of Cincinnati's Mount Auburn Church;
choral singing by the Gay Men's Ambassador Chorus; liturgical drumming;
reaffirmation of ordination vows of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender leaders; Communion; and the charge of Martin Luther''s work
We hope you will join us and share as family in the
teachings of Jesus and the justice his words call us to practice,
regardless of the risk involved.
Peace and Grace to You.
Nancy Crowe, writing out of her own experience as a
Presbyterian and a lesbian, tells the story of Ruth and Naomi in a
contemporary setting of San Francisco and small-town Indiana.
Scott King speaks out in support of Miami-Dade County LGBT Civil
Rights Ordinance [9-3-02]
|Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick has
pointed out in letters to synod and presbytery stated clerks that the
denomination's constitution "provides no right of defiance."
He says, however, that "the right of dissension" is assured in
the Presbyterian Constitution. This comes in response to open
letters, first from the Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken of Mt. Auburn
Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, and then from two leaders of two
congregations in the Presbytery of Hudson River. [8-26-02]
The complaint against the Rev. Donald Stroud of the
Presbytery of Baltimore, a staff member of That All May freely Serve,
has been dismissed by the investigating committee of the Presbytery, but
both Stroud and the complainant, Paul Jensen, have taken steps to ensure
that it won't go away. [7-30-02]
another case dismissed .... regarding the ordination of Katie Morrison
GAPJC dismisses complaint against Synod PJC
[posted here 7-30-02]
The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC)
has dismissed a complaint from the Presbytery of San Joaquin against the
Synod of the Pacific and its PJC. San Joaquin Presbytery called on the
Synod to issue a stay of enforcement for the ordination of Katie
Morrison, after the Presbytery of the Redwoods approved her for
ordination, and a few members of that Presbytery called for a stay of
The GAPJC dismissed the complaint primarily on the
grounds that San Joaquin Presbytery lacked standing to appeal to the
text of the decision is available on the PCUSA web site, in PDF
|The Presbytery of Yellowstone has
refused to name an administrative commission to persuade Anaconda
Presbyterian Church to modify its Statement of Conscience.
|More on "the Katie Morrison
The case recently heard by the Permanent Judicial
Commission of the Synod of the Pacific, growing out of complaints about
the ordination of the Rev. Katie Morrison, is clearly one of some
importance in the ongoing "judicial wars" over sexuality and
We have already posted the report
published by the Presbyterian News Service, and now are happy to add
two important contributions:
First is the full
text of the PJC decision.
And we are happy post also a
letter from Lynne Reade, attorney for the Presbytery in this
case. She offers her comments on the case itself, and what she
sees as possible future judicial issues, and wider concerns facing the
court dismisses complaints against ordination of Katie Morrison
Allegations were not specific enough to meet new,
higher standard, it rules [5-21-02]
Citing a month old decision in a similar case by a
higher church court, the Synod of the Pacific's Permanent Judicial
Commission dismissed two complaints that Redwoods Presbytery failed to
adequately examine a lesbian candidate for ministry before ordaining her
Auburn church in Cincinnati to be studied by a presbytery
The Presbytery of Cincinnati on May 15 responded to
two overtures, one aimed at forcing Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church to
submit to the strictures of G-6.0106b, and the other (from Mt. Auburn)
asking for the appointment of a study committee.
United Methodist Church is also struggling with issues of sexuality and
ordination. Recently the Council
of Bishops of that church gathered with the aim of modeling for
their congregations" [5-8-02]
supports those accused of "renouncing jurisdiction"
because of issues of ordination and sexuality [4-29-02]
As the Executive Committee of the Witherspoon Society
met on April 21-23, we were keenly aware of the accusations
that have been leveled against a number of our friends and
colleagues in ministry. We have adopted a statement expressing support
for the people who have been accused, and pledged to do what we can to
a helpful site for parents of glbt children - and for others who want to
get beyond the diatribes to the humanity
reports on a Methodist couple in Georgia who struggled with what
they felt was a terrible event in their family, when their son came out
to them. Finding little help among friends or from their church, they
have created a web site of
their own - with their son's blessing - to provide support for
others. They trace the growth of their own understanding and faith
through their son's homosexuality.
They are not concerned with the ecclesiastical
struggles as much as with the human struggles of parents and glbt
children. This site won't provide cutting edge thinking, but might be
helpful to friends and parishioners in similar situations.
here for other resources suggested by Witherspooners and
All May Freely Serve holds fourth
annual leadership conference [4-15-02]
That All May Freely Serve held a gathering of more
than 150 people - staff, volunteers, supporters and allies - on April 4
- 7, 2002, at Stony Point Conference Center in Stony Point, NY. In a
Saturday morning sermon, Chris Glaser spoke of the defeat of Amendment A
as "another crucifixion," but saw the TAMFS gathering as a new
received some nice new photos from the Shower
of Stoles Project. Scroll down the story to see
inclusive churches charged [3-19-02]
Two churches that welcome glbt members into leadership
-- Mt. Auburn in Cincinnati and First Presbyterian Church of Baldwin
Park, California -- have both been charged with various offenses.
Juillerat reports on the latest developments in the Shower
of Stoles Project, including
the production of a video telling the story of the project -- and
"premier parties" in Minneapolis and Atlanta to celebrate its
doctors affirm gay/lesbian rights to adopt children [2-4-02]
After reviewing two decades' worth of studies of the
children of gay or lesbian parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics
has announced its support of the rights of lesbians and gay men to adopt
their partners' children. The survey found that children in same-sex
families were as well adjusted socially and psychologically as the
children of heterosexual parents.
Such adoptions are now banned in three states, while
seven states and Washington, D.C., permit them by law or court ruling.
Elsewhere there is great variation in law and in practice, but clearly
such adoptions are not easy. Many observers have noted that the Academy
is widely respected, and their support for adoptions will probably be
taken seriously by many courts and legislatures.
Thanks to onReligion.com
|Details have been announced for the
National Conference, scheduled for May 24-26, 2002, in Raleigh,
Larges becomes fifth Minister Evangelist for That All May Freely
General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission has finally ruled that the
case against the ordination of a gay elder in Stamford, CT, is moot,
because the term for which he was elected has expired. [12-14-01]
Salvation Army, discrimination, and the big red kettles
The Salvation Army, the nation's largest charity, has
rescinded its decision allowing regional divisions to extend health
insurance benefits to the domestic partners of its employees. So what do
we do with those Salvation Army kettles, collecting money to help the
needy during the holiday season? Equal Partners in Faith suggests
putting coupons in the kettles,
promising a contribution as soon as the Army changes its discriminatory
For the first time since the 1978 ban on the ordination of
"practicing, self-affirming homosexuals," an openly lesbian
candidate, Katie Morrison, has been ordained as Minister of Word and
Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). [10-22-01]
Presbyterian News Service reports on a
challenge to Morrison's ordination, which was not sustained by the
Rev. Don Stroud, an evangelist for That All May Freely Serve,
who served as a commissioner from Baltimore Presbytery to the 213th
General Assembly, has been officially accused of heresy and acting in
willful violation of his ordination vows because he is openly gay.
constitutional amendment defining
A coalition of conservative religious groups plans to
propose an amendment to the US Constitution to define marriage as
between a man and a woman. An interfaith group in the Philadelphia area
has issued a statement critical of the idea, calling it "a
desperate and completely pointless attempt to settle questions of
religious debate and local governance through the US Constitution."
Light Presbyterians announces second
National Field Organizer [6-8-01]
affirms relationship with Scouters group, criticizes Presbyterian
The Congregational Ministries Division Committee (CMDC),
reacting to what it angrily called "misconceptions perpetrated by The
Presbyterian Layman," has adopted a statement affirming its
covenant with the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters.
a long view of God's working in creation [6-4-01]
Dr. Aurelia Fule shares her reflections on our growing
understanding of the varieties of sexual orientation. She asks
whether the increasing awareness and affirmation of same-sex
relationships may well be a part of the Creator's will for the world.
will review links with Presbyterian Boy Scout
Presbyterian News Service reports that the Congregational Ministries
Division Committee will review the covenant between the PC(USA) and the
National Association of Presbyterian Scouters, in response to a question
about the Boy Scouts' refusal to allow gay men to serve as Scout
leaders. It has been questioned whether such policies are inconsistent
with the church's policy of welcoming all persons, especially in youth
The review will take place during the meeting in
Louisville of the General Assembly Council, just prior to the opening of
the 213th General Assembly.
While the Presbyterian Layman has reported that the PCUSA staff
"has begun dissociating the denomination from the Boy Scouts of
America," Gina Yeager, coordinator of the PCUSA's youth ministry
program, said that no such action has even been discussed in youth
addition to this report, dated June 1, confirms that the Boy Scouts
of America policy of banning gay men as troop leaders -- recently upheld
by the U.S. Supreme Court -- extends to membership in the Boy
Scouts by openly gay boys.
900 pastoral counselors have
signed a call for recognition of sexual orientation as a gift from God [5-12-01]
demonstrator Fred Phelps comes to Woodbury,
Minnesota (from whence cometh this web page) - and raises funds for
diversity programs [5-9-01]
School demonstration draws little attention, but GLBT
support group uses it to raise money to support diversity programs.
Marks, who founded an evangelical charity
to "heal" homosexuals in Britain, has announced that its
mission was mistaken and that same-sex love is "God-given."
Fe churches celebrated Palm Sunday with a powerful act of support
for a welcoming Episcopal church that has been vandalized five times in
recent weeks. [4-10-01]
Arbor gays make creative response to
a Fred Phelps anti-gay demonstration
This report was shared with us by Doug Nave, who commented that this may
not be "quite up there with all the theological and polity debates,
but certainly a good lesson in creative engagement! [4-7-01]
the pain of loss -- a hard meditation
On Sunday, March 25, Martha Juillerat preached a sermon for the Fourth
Sunday in Lent. Reflecting on the death of a dear friend - a member of a
"family" composed of six friends, three of whom were estranged
from their birth families because of their sexual orientation - she led
the congregation into a profound encounter with the dark side of the
season of Lent, and the hard - beautiful - realities of living and
site created on Auburn Affirmation
The recently established Silicon Valley chapter of the Witherspoon
Society has been busy, among other things discussing the Auburn
Affirmation of 1923 as a possible framework for dealing responsibly with
present tensions in the Presbyterian Church. [3-6-01]
Bos responds to criticism by the Rev. Ron Scates, on PresbyWeb, that
in urging a new "Auburn Affirmation," he has neglected the
For the full correspondence, check
Reade shares a gentle suggestion that "homosexuality"
is people, who love and are loved, and are part of our
congregations in Hudson River Presbytery have sent letters
of dissent to their presbytery, affirming their intention to be
truly inclusive even if that means violating G-6.0106b, the "purity
and chastity" amendment. [2-15-01]
hears case against an allegedly gay Albany NY
Methodist church stays involved in denomination, but also in
same-sex holy unions. [1-16-01]
judicial decision upholds installation of gay elder in Connecticut
An appeal to the top ecclesiastical court is under
Rev. Charles Coppinger, Chaplain to the Arizona State Legislature,
recently "came out" as a gay man. Here
is his statement, beautifully written and deeply expressive of a
profound awareness of the grace of God and the pain and the joy of human
Wink book offers helpful perspectives on homosexuality and Christian
Jim Tiefenthal, webmaster for That All May Freely
Serve, suggests the Walter Wink book entitled Homosexuality and
Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches.
Click here for
his brief review, and a link to order the book.
Bos at Downtown Church, Rochester, calls for church progressives to
issue another 'Auburn Affirmation'
activist Martha Juillerat preaches on why she is not giving up on the
PC(USA), in a sermon on I Cor. 12 entitled "Next
the moving reality of what a genuinely
welcoming congregation can be ... and can mean.
attention has been given to the actions
of the Episcopal General Convention in mid-July, which included a
rejection of what Presbyterians have been calling holy union ceremonies.
However, the Episcopal Church took significant steps toward affirming
the variety of committed relationships that are a part of life in our
society today, and this story offers some perspective on the positive
side of their actions.
minister gives up his ordination because he is gay -- and explains
And one church session explains why
they think it's a good thing.
EQUAL PARTNERS IN FAITH (EPF) have recently applauded the courageous action of
the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) in sanctioning same-gender
unions. Click here for the report.
1,000 Scholars, Clergy Call for Full
Acceptance of Homosexuals in Churches
For a theological discussion of the legitimacy of same-sex holy unions,
NEW YORK - A thousand liberal religious scholars and clergy in
the United States have endorsed a statement affirming sexuality as God's gift
and calling for the full participation of women and gays and lesbians in the
life of religious institutions.
"We feel there is a need to develop a clear and articulate basis for the
living out of sexuality as a life-affirming gift," John Thomas, president
of the United Church of Christ (UCC), told ENI.
The declaration, known as the "Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality,
Justice, and Healing," was publicly released on Jan. 18. The text of the
declaration and a list of supporters were published this week as a full-page
advertisement in the New York Times. Conservative critics of the
document accused the signatories of trying to overthrow Bible-based morality.
Liberal Protestants dominate the list of signatories, though a smaller group of
Roman Catholics and Jews also endorsed the resolution. John A. Buehrens, head of
the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, endorsed the
declaration, along with 14 bishops from various denominations, 15 seminary
presidents and academic deans, and theologians from more than 32 U.S.
Originally 850 people signed the resolution, but since its release to the
public, a further 150 have added their support.
Among prominent clergy endorsing the document were Edmond Browning, retired
presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and Paul Sherry, former president of
the United Church of Christ, who has been honored for his work in ministry to
gays and lesbians.
The document's signatories declared they were speaking out "against the
pain, brokenness, oppression, and loss of meaning that many experience about
"Our culture needs a sexual ethic focused on personal relationships and
social justice rather than particular sexual acts," the document said.
"All persons have the right and responsibility to lead sexual lives that
express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent, and pleasure.
"Grounded in respect for the body and for the
vulnerability that intimacy brings, this ethic fosters physical, emotional, and
spiritual health. It accepts no double standards and applies to all persons,
without regard to sex, gender, color, age, bodily condition, marital status, or
The document goes on to support, among other things, the "full inclusion of
women and sexual minorities in congregational life, including their ordination
and the blessing of same-sex unions," and calls for religious leaders to
participate "in movements to end sexual and social injustice."
The resolution's supporters said the document was significant because for the
first time a group of U.S. religious leaders had collectively called for a
re-examination of sexual ethics and sexual morality. It was also, they said, the
first time that so many religious leaders had, as a group, signed a formal
declaration countering traditional theological positions on sexual issues.
Immediate reaction to the resolution - including criticism by several well-known
religious conservatives - focused on the resolution's call for the blessing of
same-sex unions, one of the most contentious issues facing a number of
But Thomas, of the UCC, told ENI that the document's lasting significance
stemmed from its overall emphasis on a new sexual ethic linking spirituality and
"This is a starting point for a much wider discussion," Thomas said,
adding that liberal religious leaders "have not, in an effective and
positive way, presented our view on human sexuality. Often we've been silenced
in moral debates. We want to make the public aware that there is another
Larry Greenfield, the president of the Midwest chapter of the American
Theological Society, told ENI that the appearance, in the past 30 to 40 years,
of women's and gay rights movements had fundamentally changed American society.
Church teachings had begun to reflect those changes, he said. "Of course
that is going to cause some stir."
What was needed now, he told ENI, was a broader examination of how religious
institutions viewed sexuality and how, ultimately, they would recognize and
foster the talents of women and sexual minorities. "How many lives, for
example, have we wasted in not recognizing the talents of women in
But R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,
told Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist news agency: "The arrogance of
this `Declaration' is breathtaking.
"These self-appointed moral revolutionaries will reject the clear teachings
of Scripture in order to justify sexual perversions and destructive
behaviors," Mohler said. "In utter arrogance they claim a `religious'
mandate for their declaration. In a cloak of distortions they seek to overthrow
biblical morality and put a humanistic ethic of sexual liberation in its
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), a
sexual education organization, sponsored the drafting of the statement.
here to go to the full text of the statement and the list of signers.
Click here for items on
sexual justice in 2010.
Items on sexual justice from past years are
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!