Here you'll find items
posted since mid-2008,
Posts on this topic for
Items on sexual justice from past years are
Presbyterian leaders oppose Ugandan anti-gay act
Parsons, Reyes-Chow join Christian leaders to
denounce proposed law
Presbyterian News Service reports that two
leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are the latest to
sign a Christian statement denouncing the Ugandan
“Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009.”
The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the
218th General Assembly (2008) and the Rev. Gradye Parsons,
stated clerk of the GA, added their names to those of dozens of
other leaders from Catholic, mainline and evangelical churches
who also signed the statement.
The “Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009” is under
consideration by the Parliament of Uganda. If passed, the act
would make homosexual behavior punishable by life imprisonment
or death. It would also punish citizens for not reporting their
gay or lesbian neighbors to the authorities.
“Regardless of the diverse theological views
of our religious traditions regarding the morality of
homosexuality, in our churches, communities and families, we
seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as
God’s children worthy of respect and love,” the statement reads.
“Yet we are painfully aware that in our country gays and
lesbians still face hostility and violence. We recognize that
such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common
good and defies the teachings of our Lord — wherever it occurs.”
news report >>
To read the statement and see the full list
Ask Congress to protect ALL Americans from discrimination
from Welton Gaddy, President of
As I mentioned in
my message to you upon the signing of the Matthew Shepard and
James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, we celebrate that
victory while continuing to move toward our next challenge: the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This next step in the
fight for equality is drawing near - the House of
Representatives will likely bring ENDA to a vote within the next
I ask you to join
me in urging Congress to pass ENDA. Both the House and the
Senate recently held hearings on ENDA but have left it in
committee, where the bill sits in limbo, rather than bringing it
to the floor for a vote. Please take a few moments now to
contact your representatives in Congress.
If you're unsure
where you stand on this issue, consider this: in 30 states, it
is legal to fire, refuse to hire, demote or deny a promotion to
an individual simply because of his or her sexual orientation,
and in 38 states it is legal to do so because of his or her
gender identity. And the religious exemption for houses of
worship and faith-based organization protects the religious
freedom of the people who need it. ENDA will ensure that
employees are judged solely on job performance - not on their
compliance with the religious beliefs of their supervisors.
I know you share
my conviction that a vibrant democracy has a responsibility to
guarantee the protection of civil rights for everyone - with no
exceptions. Passage of a fully inclusive ENDA, with appropriate
religious exemptions, will be a victory for democracy and cause
for celebration among all who value religious freedom.
So please, join
Interfaith Alliance and
other members of
the interfaith community in
contacting your members of Congress and asking them to
uphold the civil rights and religious freedom of all Americans
by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as soon as
Rev. Dr. C.
Welton Gaddy, President
The Interfaith Alliance
Note: We are glad to
see that the
Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church is among the
signers of this letter.
Beyond the Hate Crimes Prevention Act ...
Groves of the Human Rights Campaign marked the signing into law
of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by President Obama by posting
thoughts from the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, associate professor
of practical theology at Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth,
Texas. He has been researching LGBT hate crimes for anthology of
stories for his upcoming book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the
Memory of LGBT Hate Crimes Murder Victims.
His concluding lines are worth posting here on
our “front page.”
The LGBTQ community will be challenged to
mature and take their place among communities of survivors,
witnesses who understand that it takes hard work to make
hope become real for everyone. At the stroke of a pen, the
entire LGBTQ community will experience the greatest lift
since the Stonewall Rebellion forty years ago. But that will
not be all. The America I know and love will encounter
change on the day the Shepard Act becomes law, too. Summoned
by the angel of justice, the American people will face the
challenge to make the promise of the Constitution come true
for their transgender, gay, bi, and lesbian neighbors and
Passage and signing the Matthew Shepard
Act into law will not magically stop the killing. Record
numbers of LGBTQ Americans, especially young transgender
people of color, are dying violently all across the land.
But the high water mark of hatred has been scotched with the
stroke of a pen with President Obama’s signature on this
historic bill. The end of the beginning of full equality for
my people has come. And we who believe in the fullness of
justice will not rest until it comes continue to preach, to
pray, and to advocate until all of us our free to love
without the threat of violence.
Click here for the full essay, posted by John Shuck on his
blog, Shuck and Jive.
Celebrating the life of Virginia “Ginny” Davidson
Virginia Davidson, who gave much of her life
to helping the Presbyterian Church become the joyful, loving,
and inclusive community that God intends it to be, died on
Monday afternoon, October 19.
The pastor of Downtown Presbyterian Church in
Rochester, N.Y., the Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, sent this early
notice to her wide, wide circle of friends:
Our treasured friend and companion in
faith, Virginia Davidson, passed peacefully into the light
of God's eternal love early on this beautiful October
afternoon. She spent the last few days at home, surrounded
by loved ones.
A memorial service in witness to the
resurrection and in loving celebration of Virginia's life
will be held in the Downtown Presbyterian Church sanctuary
at 2pm this coming Saturday, October 24th, with a reception
to follow in the Hallock Lounge.
In these sacred days of sorrow,
remembrance, and thanksgiving, may we be especially alert to
the movement of God's Spirit among us to comfort and
May the grace and peace of God be with us
The Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, Ph.D., Pastor
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Rochester, New York
TAMFS – That All May Freely Serve – of which
Ginny Davidson was a co-founder, has posted
Virginia West "Ginny" Davidson
friend and co-founder of TAMFS, Virginia West Davidson died
today, October 19th.
We cannot begin
to describe all the ways in which she touched our lives:
leadership in the Presbyterian Church;
tireless advocacy for all persons, especially gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender persons;
• her depth
contributions to scholarship, especially to feminist theology;
• her deep
• and her
boundless kindness, which was unfailing to the end.
All these things
were Ginny, but can't even begin to sum up all of who she was
and is to us. We will be posting a more detailed account of her
life, along with information about services of worship to honor
her life. Please check back here, and also at the website of the
Downtown United Presbyterian Church at
We are also on
Facebook. If you have a Ginny Davidson story that you would
like to tell, there is a place to do so there.
Please watch for
further posts for more opportunities to remember and celebrate
And from More Light Presbyterians:
Remembering Virginia Davidson
Board of Directors and Staff of More Light Presbyterians give
thanks to God for the life, ministry and witness of Virginia
Davidson who died peacefully today at her home surrounded by
We are so
grateful for the pastoral care provided so faithfully by her
pastor, Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl and Virginia's beloved church
family, Downtown United Presbyterian Church, Rochester. Downtown
United Presbyterian Church was one of the pioneering
congregations to minister and witness as a welcoming and
affirming More Light Church, making that decision and
affiliation in 1979. Like her beloved Downtown church, Virginia
blazed many a trail for peacemaking, justice for women, racial
reconciliation and equality for LGBT people and their families.
passionately and faithfully served the Presbyterian Church (USA)
at every level including Vice-Moderator of the General Assembly,
as an Elder at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, on the Board
of the More Light Churches Network, and as traveling companion
with her beloved friend, Rev. Janie Spahr, through the ministry
of That All May Freely Serve. Many of us had the privilege of
hearing Ginny and Janie speak. I still remember the weekend they
came to Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati. Ginny and
Janie inspired all of us to dare to live into and share God's
wildly inclusive love for all," remembers Michael J. Adee,
Executive Director & Field Organizer.
"Ginny and Janie
touched my life in profound ways and I give thanks to God for
them. Oklahoma and our church was never quite the same after one
of their visits. They were quite a dynamic duo! The Presbyterian
Church is more loving, just and open because of Ginny and
Janie's ministry," said Vikki Dearing, Co-Moderator.
We invite all of
you to join us in thanksgiving for Ginny's life, ministry and
witness. We also encourage you to keep her family, her Downtown
Presbyterian Church family, and her many beloved friends
including Janie Spahr and Lisa Larges in your thoughts and
Michael J. Adee,
M.Div., Executive Director & Field Organizer,
More Light Presbyterians
National Equality March expresses LGBT witness for equality
Obama's speech offers support
A report from Michael Adee, Executive
Director & Field Organizer of More Light Presbyterians.
Washington, DC. (October 11, 2009) Today
thousands of people marched on Washington for LGBT equality.
More Light Presbyterians supported this historic moment of
national grassroots organizing by: serving as one of the
national pro-LGBT faith organizations to support the March by
officially endorsing it; by having a group of More Light
Presbyterians march; and through the witness of Rev. Ruth
Hamilton, co-pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church,
Washington, D.C., a welcoming and affirming More Light church,
and Michael J. Adee, standing with two dozen faith leaders on
the stage in front of the Capitol with Rev. Troy Perry as he
offered the invocation at the rally.
The rest of the report >>
|Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
The AP reports:
The American Psychological Association
declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not
tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or
In a resolution adopted by the APA's governing
council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued
its most comprehensive repudiation of "reparative therapy" — a
concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists,
often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain gays can
No solid evidence exists that such change is
likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-4 vote. The APA
said some research suggests that efforts to produce change could
be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged
therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from
celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients live
spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual
orientation and religious faith conflict.
The rest of the report >>
APA press release on the report >>
For the full text of the Task Force report (138 pages, in
PDF format) >>
July 14, 2009 9:14AM
you have a minute and a half today? You must if you’re reading
The Matthew Shepard Act is coming to a vote on the
Senate Floor THIS WEEK and we need you to make two calls…
one to each Senator that will take no more than 45 seconds.
Call 202-224-3121 and tell each
senator of your Senators to vote YES on the hate crimes bill.
Our allies on the Hill are reporting an avalanche
of 300,000 letters and calls from right-wing groups trying to stop
it. Anti-LGBT leaders like Focus on the Family’s James Dobson are
now calling the bill “utter evil.” They’re even referring to it as
the “Pedophile Protection Act.”
If you’ve never called Congress, it’s incredibly
1. Before 5 p.m. ET, call the Senate
Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell the operator you’d like to
speak to the Senators from your state.
(You can also
look up your Senator’s direct number here)
2. Most likely, one of your senator’s interns
will answer and ask where you’re calling from and why. You’re
calling to urge the Senator to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act (S.
909). Most calls-end right there. But if you like, you can
|Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender people are on the rise.|
|One out of every six hate crimes is because
of the victim’s sexual orientation.|
|Hate crimes have more than one victim. They
are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize
3. Dial the switchboard again at 202-224-3121 and
tell ask to speak to the other Senator from your state and repeat
After you hang up,
click here to let us know that you made the call. Don’t
skip this step! It helps us track our progress.
House passes Hate Crimes Prevention
Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton
Gaddy on the passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime
Washington, DC - Interfaith Alliance President,
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement praising the
passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act
(H.R. 1913) by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hate is neither a religious nor an American value,
and that is why Interfaith Alliance praises the House for passing
this hate crimes bill. The sacred scriptures of many different faith
traditions speak with dramatic unanimity in vehemently condemning
hate. If we aspire to be true to the prophetic core of our religions
and our American values, we cannot condemn hate and then sit idly by
while it destroys the lives of a group of our fellow citizens.
To be sure, legislation alone cannot remove hatred
from our midst, but passage of comprehensive hate crimes legislation
will send a clear message about America's common values - that we
utterly reject hate violence and embrace an America in which diverse
people are safe as well as free. Interfaith Alliance calls on the
Senate to follow the House's lead and send this bill to the
president without delay.
And from the Human Rights Campaign
April 29, 2009
We just got the news: the U.S. House has passed
the fully inclusive Matthew Shepard Act.
This was not an easy victory. But we WON in the
House – thanks in part to the tireless, fearless Judy Shepard, who
joined me in critical last-minute meetings on Capitol Hill today.
Now the battle moves to the Senate.
We need every Senator to know we want quick action
on the inclusive hate crimes bill. You've emailed, you've called,
you've donated – and I thank you deeply – but I hope you understand
that this fight is far from over.
President Obama has pledged to sign the bill, but
to get it to his desk we'll need to pass it through the Senate
first. And with the lies from right-wing groups ALREADY intensifying
– one group went so far as to say the bill makes "pedophiles a
protected class" and is "pro-child molester" – it's not going to be
Send Judy's powerful video to ten friends and ask them to write
to the Senate.
The scare tactics
continue. Anti-LGBT groups sent lawmakers a note linking to a poster
of Jesus that says "WANTED For Violation of the Proposed Hate Crimes
Law In His Teachings."
Our only defense is
the truth: in the ten years since Matthew Shepard's death, tens of
thousands more people have been violently attacked for being who
they are. It took ten years of lobbying and educating to get to this
point – our long wait for hate crimes protections must end now.
To see Judy Shepard’s
video, and to send this message to ten friends – and to your
Senators in Washington –
|US endorses UN gay rights text
Press reports that earlier today (Wednesday, March 18) the Obama
administration formally endorsed a U.N. statement calling for the
worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure that former
President George W. Bush had refused to sign.
The move was the administration's latest in
reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by
human rights and other groups. The United States was the only
western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at
the U.N. General Assembly in December.
"The United States supports the U.N.'s statement
on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and is
pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared
their support of the statement," said State Department spokesman
"The United States is an outspoken defender of
human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world,"
Wood told reporters. "As such, we join with other supporters of this
statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the
importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all
appropriate international fora."
Thanks to Paul Capetz for this
welcome bit of news.
|Gay but Equal?
Frances Berry calls for a new way to justice and equality
Mary Frances Berry's
opinion piece in the New York Times, "Gay But Equal?"
offers a new way for us to think about and work for justice and
equality for all persons. She suggests: “To help resolve the issue
of gay rights, President-elect Obama should abolish the now moribund
Commission on Civil Rights and replace it with a new commission that
would address the rights of many groups, including gays.”
Mary Frances Berry, the chairwoman of the
Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 to 2004, is the author of
And Justice for All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights
and the Continuing Struggle for Freedom in America.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is committed to
non-discrimination in civil society for LGBT people. The 218th
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) called for the end
to discrimination against LGBT persons in our Church through
Ordination Amendment 08-B. This article offers a wider context for
our own Presbyterian struggles, and reminds us of the words of Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The arc of the moral universe is long but
it bends toward justice."
May this be so in our Church, our country, and all
of God's world.
The full article >>
Thanks to Michael Adee, of More Light
the wonder & mystery of light, life, faith and grace
Today is Epiphany in Christian tradition.
We mark and celebrate the mystery and wonder of Epiphany
on January 6. As you know, this tradition is often
referred to as the Epiphany of the Lord. It is
associated with the visit of the Wise Men from the East,
or the Three Kings as often displayed in church
Christmas pageants. Isaiah 60: 1- 6 and Matthew
2: 1- 12 are the Biblical texts that give us the
story behind this celebration.
The text in the
Gospel of Matthew speaks of the Wise Men as traveling or
"going by another road."
Epiphany.... a sudden realization, a
comprehension of the essence or meaning of something.
Epiphany, an understanding, a revelation with an ancient
root in the word "phos" or "Light." For those of us
within the national network of More Light Presbyterians
the expression of "more light" is close
to our hearts, lives, calls to ministry and being part
of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Epiphany calls us to celebrate the wonder and
mystery of light, life, faith and grace. The
Biblical texts describe the wise men, three kings or
maji being guided by a star, by light, in their search
for Jesus, the Christ child. Their journey was guided
by light, as is ours.
The image and reality of journey of
faith reminds us that we will stay people on the way, we
do not arrive. There is always more to learn,
to understand, to become as people of faith. In the
midst of our Church seeking ways to end discrimination
and remove barriers to God's call to serve for God's
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender daughters and
sons, the 218th General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church (USA) called us on a
journey to prayerfully, thoughtfully and faithfully
consider Ordination Amendment 08-B.
We are reminded at Epiphany that it is God
who calls, who gives light to our world, to our
journey. It is God who gives the gifts of life, faith
and grace. It is God who calls us to
Barbara Brown Taylor describes our
vocation as people of faith as "a call, a summons, and
participating in the work of God." She goes on to say
that our vocation is "doing what one is meant to do."
Since an epiphany is "the perception of the essential
nature or meaning" it also seems that the discovery or
affirmation of one's call includes the embrace of one's
essential nature, one's creation by the hand and heart
of God. God's creation includes who we are, who
we fall in love with, and how we create family.
Supporting Ordination Amendment 08-B creates
the path for everyone in our Church to be whom
God intends for them to be and to follow their vocation:
"doing what one is meant to do" as Taylor says. What is
God saying to our Church, to each of us, in the call to
ratify Amendment 08-B?
As the Wise Men traveled "by going another
road" so can we. The Presbyterian Church (USA)
can leave the path of 30-plus years of prejudice and
discrimination against its own LGBT daughters and sons.
The evidence is clear that this path has done nothing
but hurt us by preventing called and qualified people
from serving God and serving within our Church, and
distracting us from doing the mission of the Church.
May all of us take some time today to reflect
upon God's gifts of light and life, faith and love, hope
and grace. And, imagine and dream with me of
a world where everyone understands and is able to
receive those gifts from the heart and hand of God. May
all us become "bridges" to that understanding and not
"barriers" to those God sends our way, and for the whole
world. Blessed be.
with hope and grace,
PS -- for more information & resources about
Amendment 08-B go to
Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive
Director & Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians,
369 Montezuma Avenue # 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico
|John Knox Presbytery enrolls Scott Anderson as
On Tuesday, November 18, John Knox Presbytery voted
77 to 23 (or maybe 71 to 23 – accounts vary) that Scott Anderson’s
“affirmation of conscience” as an out gay man, does not violate any
essential tenet of the Reformed faith. The Presbytery then voted to
enroll Anderson as a candidate for ordination.
When two ministers called on Anderson to speak
about his “sexual practice,” another presbyter objected that this
line of questioning was inappropriate, and the matter was not
A personal note: Your WebWeaver thinks
“affirmation of conscience” is a much better term than “scruple”
(sounding a bit medieval) or “departure” (sounding a bit like what
is so often delayed at airports).
text of Anderson’s Affirmation of Conscience, in PDF format >>
Presbyterian Outlook provides a good report on the meeting >>
Presbyterian News Service report >>
Marriage equality outlawed again by California vote for "Prop 8"
A memo from
Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the America
Way and herself "a mother who has
raised two children in a 30-year relationship with another woman,"
rejects charges by some gay activists
who are blaming black
Californians for Prop 8's passage.
She says that responsibility for
passage of the renewed denial of same-sex marriage rests not
with African American
voters, but with the Religious Right – and she calls for a
Read her memo
Here is one summary of exit poll reports on the Prop 8 vote, from
"[T]he broad coalition of Americans who support
fundamental rights for everyone will continue to work towards a day
when the dignity of every American is respected."
This is a note from Jody Huckaby of PFLAG (Parents
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) National:
November 6, 2008
Dear PFLAG Family & Friends,
Earlier today our allies in California confirmed
that they believe voters have approved Proposition 8, a measure that
rolls back marriage equality in the nation's most populous state.
While our families have encountered a
heartbreaking obstacle on the road to full equality in California,
the broad coalition of Americans who support fundamental rights for
everyone will continue to work towards a day when the dignity of
every American is respected. Families are defined by a love, and a
commitment, that is beyond the barriers of a ballot. No struggle for
equality is won easily, and great strides do not come without great
strife. They also, however, require the great strength necessary to
push forward in the wake of disappointment and persevere in the face
On Tuesday, millions of Californians stood with
our families and valiantly tried to beat back a mean-spirited,
un-American attack on LGBT people. While we fell short of the
majority we needed to prevail, each time the public has addressed
this issue, those who stand with us grow in number. A decade ago, it
would have been unthinkable that so many people would have endorsed
marriage equality at the ballot box. If we continue the critical
work we began this year, it will be unthinkable, a decade from now,
that anyone would not.
All of us at PFLAG remain committed to securing
the rights our families and loved ones deserve. With a new
Administration and new Congress in Washington, there are many
reasons to believe that we will soon prevail. As Dr. King to
eloquently reminded us, "[T]he arc of the moral universe is long,
but it bends toward justice." On Tuesday, millions of Californians
tilted that arc a little bit closer to liberty, and we must now
commit ourselves to finding the strength we need to finish the work
they have begun.
Jody M. Huckaby
PFLAG National Executive Director
A new legal wrinkle:
Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged
Ashley Surdin reports in The Washington Post: "The future of same-sex marriage in the
Golden State will rest, once again, in the hands of its highest court. But this
time, its fate will hinge on a different question: Can a state constitutional
ban on same-sex marriage go before voters? Or must it go before the legislature
first?" The full
|California Presbyterians urged
to witness for Marriage Equality|
Presbyterian witness events for marriage equality – and against the
discriminatory California Proposition 8 – will be held in Los
Angeles and San Francisco on October 28
From More Light Presbyterians:
Please join the Presbyterian Witness Event for
Marriage Equality and to Say No to Prop 8 near you, either in Los
Angeles or California on Tuesday, October 28 at noon. These events
are being organized by California Faith for Equality and Covenant
Network of Presbyterians, and supported by PEP, the Presbyterian
Equality Project of More Light Presbyterians.
|October 28 at Noon|
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
3300 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 389-3191 phone
|October 28 at Noon|
Calvary Presbyterian Church
2515 Fillmore Street at Jackson
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-3832 phone
Clergy are encouraged to wear ministerial collars
or stoles; elders, deacons and other church leaders are encouraged
to wear identifiable religious symbols such as stoles or crosses.
Proposition 8 seeks to eliminate equal rights for
same-gender loving couples to marry in the State of California.
Proposition 8 strikes down the historic decision for civil marriage
equality by the California State Supreme Court in June, 2008.
Proposition 8 would relegate LGBT persons and same gender loving
couples to second class citizens in the State of California once
The failure of Prop 8 will not change the
religious definition of marriage nor compel any person or church to
act against their conscience. The 218th General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church (USA) voted in June 78% in favor of an overture
that reaffirmed support of "the right of same-gender persons to . .
. all the benefits, privileges, and responsibilities of civil
Special thanks to California Faith for Equality,
Covenant Network and GLAAD for planning these Presbyterian Witness
More Light Presbyterians name Toby Rogers
as Associate Director for Marketing and Development
The National Board of Directors of More Light Presbyterians is
pleased to announce that it has named Toby Rogers
as its Associate Director for
Marketing and Development. This is a new position
created through the generosity of
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr.
Fund, San Francisco,
CA and donations from More Light Presbyterian churches,
chapters and supporters.
|$1.2 million grant bolsters
collaboration among faith-based LGBT organizations to increase the
number of welcoming and affirming churches
The National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force Foundation’s Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR) and five
partner organizations have been awarded a total of $1.2 million from
the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to work jointly to expand the
number of churches that are welcoming and affirming of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and to strengthen their
internal capacities. This funding is significant not only because of
its dollar amount, but also because it marks a breakthrough in
secular foundation support for LGBT faith organizing efforts.
The recipients are the Task Force’s Institute for
Welcoming Resources, which works with the welcoming church movement
in 30 Christian denominations; Integrity, which works within the
Episcopal Church; Lutherans Concerned/North America, which works
within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; More Light Presbyterians,
which works within the Presbyterian Church (USA); Reconciling
Ministries Network, which works within the United Methodist Church;
and the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns.
The grant, which will be paid out over two years,
will support a strategic, collaborative effort to expand pro-LGBT
faith-based organizing efforts and allow the groups to fortify their
respective infrastructures. Through the welcoming church movement,
congregations decide — through a formal vote — to offer an
unconditional welcome to people of all sexual orientations and
gender identities. To date, more than 3,100 congregations across the
Christian spectrum have explicitly welcomed LGBT people to full
inclusion in the life and ministry of their congregations.
The full story >>
speak out for marriage equality
for action has come to us from the Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, Associate
Field Director for Religious Outreach, Americans United for
Separation of Church and State:
I am sharing with you an opportunity to
express your support for Marriage Equality at this highly
politicized moment. As each of you know there are several ballot
initiatives under consideration that would invalidate existing
and/or prohibit future marriages between persons of the same
gender. The Religious Institute for Sexual Morality Justice and
Healing (on whose Board I serve) is seeking to demonstrate that
there is significant support for Marriage Equality among
ordained clergy. If you are so inclined; please
your name to the attached endorsement statement and share
this with your peers.
The goal is to collect a substantial list of
signers by August 15, 2008. The Religious Institute will
publicize the level of religious support through media outlets
and print media in advance of this fall’s election. I appreciate
any assistance you can offer in this effort to present an honest
assessment of communities of faith on this issue.
The full text of the letter, which offers a strong, concise
statement of the reasons for “ending the exclusion of samesex
couples from the legal institution of marriage,” is posted in PDF
The Culture War Disarmed|
Observations on the legalization of gay marriage in California
Many progressive Presbyterians are heartened by
the action of the California Supreme Court on May, legalizing
same-sex marriages. An article in The Nation puts this action
in the wider context of U.S. politics and culture, while also
pointing out that for Californians, it’s not such a big change,
Richard Kim writes:
The California gay marriage debate illustrates important national
trends . . . Growing numbers of Americans favor gay rights,
including some form of partnership recognition for same-sex couples,
especially when framed as economic and legal rights. This is
particularly true of young voters . . . [b]ut this trend also holds
true for voters of all ages . . .
Read the full
|Items on sexual justice from past years are
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their
action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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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.
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
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
politics, culture, travel, 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 Flushing, NY.
John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive
A Presbyterian minister, currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!