Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

Welcome to news and networking for progressive Presbyterians 

Home page

Ordination / inclusion

Health Care Reform

Immigrant rights

Search Archive
HAITI CRISIS Confronting torture The Economic Crisis Israel & Palestine About us Just for fun

News of the PC(USA)

Global & Social concerns Other churches, other faiths Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan Join us! Notes from your WebWeaver

What's Where

Our reports about the coming 219th General Assembly, July 2010


The Spring 2010 issue of
Network News
is posted here
- in Adobe PDF format.

Click here for earlier issues
Adobe PDF  Click here to download (free!) Adobe Reader software to view this and all PDF files.

News of the Society
How to join us
Global Engagement Initiative



Coming events calendar 

Do you want to announce an event?
Please send a note!
Food for the spirit
Book notes

Go to


NEWS of the Presbyterian Church

Got news??
Send us a note!
Social and global concerns
The U.S. political scene, 2009
The Middle East conflict
The Economic Crisis
Health Care Reform
Working for inclusive ordination
Peacemaking & international concerns
The Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
Israel, Palestine, and Gaza
U. S. Politics
Election 2008
Economic justice
Fair Food Campaign
Labor rights
Women's Concerns
Sexual justice
Marriage Equality
Caring for the environment
Immigrant rights
Racial concerns
Church & State
The death penalty
The media
Other churches, other faiths
Do you want regular e-mail updates when stories are added to our web site?
Just send a note!
The WebWeaver's Space
Just for fun
Want books?
Search Now:


Ordination and Exclusion

For items on "Living with the Authoritative Interpretation" >>

Cases and actions working through the 2006 GA action allowing respect for conscience

For a variety of items relating to issues of gender and justice >>
Presbyterian Controversies Present and Past: the Case of the Reinstatement of Paul Capetz in Light of Never-ending Conflict in the Presbyterian Church   [5-15-10]

The Rev. Heidi Vardeman has kindly shared with us a paper she has written looking at the case of the Rev. Paul Capetz, who, as a gay man, set aside his ordination in the year 2000 when the PC(USA) became increasingly rigid in its banning of LGBT Presbyterians from ordination. In 2007, after the “Peace, Unity and Purity” report led to the to affirmation of the right of conscience for candidates for ordination, allowing them to declare “scruples” or reservations about the ban, Dr. Capetz applied to his presbytery for reinstatement as an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament.

His request was granted by a strong majority vote, but various complaints and challenges have been filed against, and the process continues still.

The paper examines this case not as a matter of theological or biblical dispute, but in light of the history of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. over the past few centuries. Vardeman writes: 

It is my intention in this paper to tell the story [of] some older controversies within the Presbyterian Church and the manner in which they were settled – or not – in order to place the issue of the ordination of gay men and lesbian women within a broader historical context. My aim is pastoral as well as academic. I hope to encourage my denomination not to be too disheartened by the present state of affairs. To be in controversy is to be Presbyterian.

Our current disputes suffer from a lack of historical perspective. If we could see our controversies as part of a storied tradition, we would be wiser for it. It might give us the patience to work out our differences in a more loving and productive way.

Click here to read her paper, in PDF format >>

Click here for some of our earlier reporting on Paul Capetz' case >>

Reflecting on gay ordination

This was written as a Letter to the Editor of the Layman, by the Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, Minister of Word and Sacrament serving Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House in New York City. He was responding to the Layman’s report that Stockton Presbytery has joined in a complaint against John Knox Presbytery for its action in approving the ordination of Scott Anderson, who is gay. He raises the question – from his own experience in ministry – of just what difference it makes whether a minister is gay or straight.

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Not too long ago, the receptionist at our church called me late at night. There was someone in our foyer in hospital garb, slippers, and a catheter hanging from his arm. We came to find out that he had been in a local hospital for detoxification from alcohol and somewhere in the process simply disconnected himself from the IV and walked out, leaving everything behind. It was a cold night and he came directly to the church. He was pretty disoriented, but we got him some clothes from our clothing distribution room, food from our pantry, contacted the hospital, and got him help in removing the catheter from his arm. We kept him company, making little sense of his ramblings, but after a while, we convinced him to go to a local shelter and get some rest.

He is one of the hundreds we serve each month in our worship as outreach.

A few days later, I saw the gentleman at our weekly dinner program, where we serve almost 100 people a week who have either no food, no company, or no other place to go. I asked him how he was doing, and in conversation asked him what made him come to us when he left the hospital. Without missing a beat, his answer was: "It was where I knew I could find God." For him, on that night, God was a welcome, food, clothing, and help in finding a place to rest. His faith did, indeed, set him free.

It didn't matter that as the pastor of the church I am gay. In fact, being gay in the PC(USA) no longer matters any more than being straight does. People will argue about that, but we, as a church, have already deleted G-6.0106b. It's gone in our hearts and in practice. True, some still find comfort in the same kind of teachings that once held women and people of color to be second-class in God's eyes. However, the reality is that we already work together and serve God as a community of great diversity that includes gender identity fully.

I honestly do wish to continue to dialogue with those who disagree, because I believe they are being faithful in their own ways and we need to pray and talk together. However, those who are unable or unwilling to accept the truth that this artificial division between us is no longer valid cannot be allowed to prevent others who believe differently from full inclusion in this church. The lives of faithful people cannot be divided along gender identity any more than they can along the lines of the sexes or color.

In a short time, we will all gather in Minneapolis for our General Assembly. We will worship together, work together, share meals, cabs, and conversations. We will pray and seek God's will. And, the "we" will include many of us who identify themselves as gay, whether spoken aloud or not. We will agree and disagree. Sooner or later, it will be apparent that, in fact, G-6.0106b has been deleted in the way God has moved this church and its people. Sooner or later, the constitution will catch up. In the meantime, none of us can be held hostage by what we know in our hearts to be wrong.

Like the gentleman who found us on that cold night, there are too many people "seeking God" for us to deny any qualified candidate from ordination based on G-6.0106b.

Scott Anderson is clearly qualified to be ordained. To hold G-6.0106b against him or anyone else is to hold this church hostage to an aberration in our constitution. We no longer allow the few who still hold onto prejudices against women and people of color to hold us hostage to their beliefs, nor should we allow those who have yet to embrace the gay community to marginalize or exclude us.

It is no longer about G-6.0106b.


Ray Bagnuolo, Minister of Word and Sacrament
Serving Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House
New York, NY

See Bagnuolo's blog >>

Appeal filed against approval of Scott Anderson for ordination     [3-1-10]

Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Caledonia Presbyterian Church of Portage, Wis., has filed a challenge of the vote by John Knox Presbytery to ordain Scott Anderson, executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Anderson is openly gay, living in a long-term committed relationship.

Smith’s blog page invites comments. This was the first one posted:

And then the Presbyterians wonder why everyone is leaving the church.

Scott Anderson approved for ordination by John Knox Presbytery

By a vote of 81-25, the Presbytery of John Knox approved Scott D. Anderson for ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament this morning.

Anderson served two Presbyterian congregations as an ordained minister in the 1980s, but he set aside his ordination in 1990, after he was "outed" by two church members as a gay man.  Since then he has served in ecumenical roles in California and Wisconsin, and served as the only gay member of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church.

In November, 2008, he put forward a "declaration of conscience" against provision G-6.0106b of the Book of Order, which effectively bans LGBT persons from consideration for ordination in the Presbyterian Church.  The Presbytery accepted his declaration, and thereby approved him as a candidate for ordination. 

Today's action caps Anderson's years of struggle to fulfill his sense of calling to ministry.  Scott writes in his note about today's Presbytery action:

It was a great experience, with fine leadership on the part of the Presbytery, and a grace-filled debate that proved once again that Presbyterians can disagree without being disagreeable.

Blessings --
Scott Anderson

Added later:

A friend reports that after the meeting, which was in executive session, and the vote, there was an announcement asking people to sign up to begin an appeal.

More details on the approval of Scott Anderson for ordination

The John Knox Presbytery, a regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA), voted at its February 20, 2010 meeting at Christ Presbyterian Church, Madison, Wisconsin, to approve Mr. Scott Anderson, an openly gay ministerial candidate, for ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament within the PC(USA). The Presbytery approved Mr. Anderson's ordination by a vote of 81 to 25.

Anderson's ordination bid included an "Affirmation of Conscience" stating his objections to the PC(USA)'s sexuality policy, which is widely interpreted as barring openly practicing gay and lesbian persons from ordained office. Anderson's ordination is one of the first to be approved in accordance with policy provisions that allow ordaining bodies to consider candidates' conscientious objections to particular articles of church teaching.

Under the Presbyterian system, when a candidate for ordination submits such an objection, the governing body considering the ordination must make an individual determination as to the seriousness of the candidate's departure from official teaching. If the governing body determines that the candidate's objection does not undermine essentials of church doctrine and governance, it may proceed with the ordination in spite of the disagreement. Such procedures were approved by the denomination's national General Assembly in 2006, and reaffirmed in 2008.

In the case of the vote to approve Mr. Anderson, the Presbytery's decision does not overturn denomination-wide policy, nor does it establish any binding precedents for the future. Instead it reflects local judgments that Mr. Anderson's departures from official teaching were not serious enough to overshadow his many other gifts and bar him from the exercise of ordained office.

"These policy provisions give Presbyterians a way of affirming that the core faith which binds us together is more significant than the contemporary issues over which we sometimes disagree," said Rev. Ken Meunier, the Executive Presbytery of John Knox Presbytery. "Not everyone is on the same page with this issue, but a great number of people have been very impressed with Scott Anderson's gifts for ministry. I believe the vote reflects a desire of persons within the Presbytery to make room for a variety of voices and opinions within the church, and to exercise biblical forbearance toward persons with whom they disagree."

Anderson's statement of conscience affirmed the authority of Scripture, including "the pattern that Scripture sets out for sexual morality." He emphasized that "all Christians are called to lives of holiness and faithfulness that glorify God," but also argued that the Bible's message is misapplied when it is used to exclude gay people who are in covenanted, lifelong partnerships: "I believe this misinterpretation of the biblical witness is unfaithful to God's loving intentions for humankind, and seriously undermines the church's gospel witness to gay and lesbian persons."

Mr. Anderson will be ordained to service as the Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

Church of Scotland approves and installs openly gay minister Scott Rennie to an Aberdeen church    [12-28-09]

The Revs. John Mann and Lindsay Biddle have both been serving Church of Scotland parishes in Glasgow. Part of their Christmas letter reports on the decision by the Church of Scotland to approve the call and installation of an openly gay minister.  Here is their report:

This is a historic year in the Church of Scotland.

On Saturday, May 23, 2009, during its annual meeting in Edinburgh, the General Assembly voted to approve the induction (installation) of the Rev. Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross Parish Church in Aberdeen.

Scott is an openly-gay minister in “the Kirk,” the Church of Scotland, and lives with his partner David Smith, a religious education teacher in the Scottish school system. Scott had applied to several churches seeking a new minister, courageously letting them know about his sexual orientation and family configuration.

The congregation of Queen’s Cross Parish Church elected him to be their new minister on Sunday, November 20, 2008. Following complaints by some of its members, the Aberdeen Presbytery held a special meeting in January 2009 and voted to uphold the call. Twelve persons appealed the presbytery’s decision, and in March a special commission of the General Assembly forwarded the matter to the May meeting.

In the months leading up to the 2009 General Assembly, the British media highlighted— and in a few instances, contributed to — the brewing controversy in the Church of Scotland. The many newspapers over here — each with an unabashed and distinct political slant — are by and large supportive of lesbian and gay people having the same rights and privileges as straight people in their professional and personal lives. After all, it has been four years since the United Kingdom parliament enacted same-sex civil partnerships which are legally equivalent to opposite-sex marriages, and “sexual orientation” is included in anti-discrimination and hate-crime laws and in adoption and other family policies. Where newspapers differ is in their portrayal of the church: some treat it negatively as an out-dated, out-of-touch institution and are downright anti-clerical; while others are more positive, equating the church to other important nation-wide organizations (like the public transportation system) that need to be progressive and accessible if they are going to meet the diverse needs of a changing population.

As Chaplain of Affirmation Scotland, a group formed three years ago to affirm the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians in the Church of Scotland, Lindsay was put in the position of speaking to the media in the run-up to the General Assembly. This was more by default than by design: some members of Affirmation Scotland who are gay did not wish to “come out” under these circumstances; and the group’s able press spokesperson happened to be the former minister of Queen’s Cross Parish Church and thus did not feel it was appropriate for him to comment on the current situation.

Like every denomination when it finds itself at the crossroad of justice, the 2009 General Assembly decided the Kirk should spend the next two years studying the map. A “Special Commission on Same-sex Relationships and the Ministry” was appointed to consult presbyteries and sessions, prepare a study, and report to the 2011 General Assembly. Meanwhile congregations such as St. James’ in Pollok, where John serves, are publicly declaring themselves “Affirming Congregations.” And building on its early contribution to the special commission, Affirmation Scotland has gone the extra mile and produced “The Christian Faith and Sexuality Resource Pack” of personal testimonies, heart-felt questions, and group discussion starters to help presbyteries and churches become more affirming and, here in Scotland, more relevant.

On the eve of American Independence Day, John and Lindsay both participated in Scott Rennie’s induction service at Queen’s Cross Parish Church. In the presence of a fill congregation (and a few reporters) Scott was welcomed individually by 80 ministers from the Presbytery of Aberdeen, other presbyteries in the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the PCUSA’s Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. In the front pew sat Scott’s partner David, Scott’s daughter, and Scott’s former wife, Ruth. Behind them were Scott’s relatives, David’s relatives, and Ruth’s relatives, all of whom support Scott and his family and his ministry.

May 2010 be a historic year in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as the General Assembly meeting in the Twin Cities courageously connects people crying out for a church that affirms them with congregations crying out for new life.

To read Scott Ronnie’s story in his own words go to, click on the Publications link, and download OneKirk Journal, Spring 2009 issue.

Rev. Lindsay Louise Biddle (PCUSA)
Rev. Dr. John W. Mann (Church of Scotland)

The PJC ruling on lgbt ordination, as seen from our “Mother Church” in Scotland     [11-14-09]

The Rev. Dr. John Mann, a pastor of the Church of Scotland in Glasgow, formerly of the PC(USA), has recommended an article in The Times (United Kingdom) which discusses the recent GA PJC rulings on the cases of Paul Capetz and Lisa Larges, and how they relate to the Church of Scotland.

The second paragraph of the article says:

A ruling last week by the High Court of the Presbyterian Church of the United States (PCUSA), cleared the way for a lesbian and a gay man, Lisa Larges and Paul Capetz, to be appointed as ministers. Though the verdict will have no direct bearing on ecclesiastical law in Scotland, it will reverberate through Presbyteries from Moray to Melrose.

Your WebWeaver especially likes the Scots translation of “GA PJC” into “High Court.”  Should the revision of our Book of Order include that?

The Rev Lindsay Biddle, a minister with the PC(USA) and spouse of John Mann, also serving in Glasgow, is quoted at the end of the article as saying:

Scott Rennie [a divorced minister of the Church of Scotland who lives with his partner, David, and was recently called to as church in Aberdeen, a move which aroused great opposition by conservatives], Paul Capetz and Lisa Larges, and many others, are modern-day Martin Luthers. The Christian church is going through a reformation with homosexuality being the scapegoat issue or lightning rod.

While the outcomes certainly affect gay and lesbian people, they reflect a Church that is changing beyond some people’s comfort zone. For the rest of us, it’s way past time.

Read the full article >>

GA PJC issues technical rulings in two closely-watched ordination cases

Larges may be examined for ordination, Capetz' restoration stands, high court says in rulings that fail to define limits of 'scrupling'

by Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE -- Nov. 11, 2009 -- The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - the highest court in the church - has issued two technical rulings that leave unresolved the extent to which conscientious objection to the church's sexual conduct standards may disqualify candidates for ordination. 

The Nov. 2 rulings involve Lisa Larges, a lesbian candidate for the ministry in San Francisco Presbytery, and the Rev. Paul Capetz, a gay theology professor in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area who set aside his ordination in 2000 and then sought reinstatement in 2007. 

The rulings effectively allow San Francisco Presbytery to proceed to examine Larges for possible ordination and the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area to restore Capetz to ordained ministry in the PC(USA). 

Larges and Capetz both relied on an authoritative interpretation of G-6.0108a of the Book of Order issued by the 2006 General Assembly. As part of its approval of the report from the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity of the church, the interpretation allows candidates for ordination and installation as church officers to declare a "scruple" or conscientious objection to any provision of the church's Constitution.

It is then up to the ordaining body to determine whether the scruple is a sufficient enough departure from the essentials of the Reformed faith to be disqualifying.

Though it applies to any constitutional provision, the declaring of scruples has so far only been utilized in objection to G-6.0106b, which requires of church officers "fidelity within the covenant of marriage or chastity in singleness."

Larges, who has been a candidate for the ministry for more than 20 years, was certified by San Francisco Presbytery as "ready for examination with a departure [scruple]" on Jan. 15, 2008 by a vote of 167-151.

Three minister members of the presbytery filed a remedial complaint with the Synod of the Pacific PJC, alleging that the presbytery's actions and those of its Committee on Preparation for Ministry were improper. They sought to have the presbytery's vote voided and Larges removed from the presbytery's roll of candidates.

The synod PJC agreed that the presbytery had erred by addressing the scruple prematurely - during the certification for readiness rather than during a subsequent examination for ordination - and voided the January 2008 vote. It refused to instruct the presbytery to remove Larges from the roll of candidates.

The three San Francisco Presbytery complainants appealed that ruling, telling the court that "the burning question to which the church needs a clear answer" is whether scrupling allows a presbytery to "waive" constitutional ordination standards.

The court didn't address that question, instead affirming the synod PJC's ruling that the proper time for a presbytery to consider a scruple and whether it is disqualifying is during the examination for ordination, not during the CPM's certification for readiness stage of the process.

Larges is scheduled to be examined for ordination by San Francisco Presbytery on Nov. 10.

At that time, the court ruled, the presbytery is required "to determine whether the Candidate has expressed an interpretation of Scripture that represents a serious departure from essentials of Reformed faith and polity, and if it determines that she has, it must then decide whether the departure infringes on the rights and views of others or obstructs the constitutional governance of the church."

For the second time, the GAPJC ruled that the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area did not err when it voted to restore Capetz' ordination in January 2008. A professor at United Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, Capetz had set aside his ordination in 2000, four years after the PC(USA) added the commonly-called "fidelity and chastity" provision to the Book of Order. But when scrupling was reinstituted in 2006, he sought restoration to ordained ministry, also declaring conscientious objection to G-6.0106b.

In a related March 2009 decision that affirmed the presbytery's decision, the GAPJC also ruled that the Synod of Lakes and Prairies PJC must conduct a trial to determine if the presbytery had in effect waived an ordination requirement.

That trial was held on May 12, 2009, and the synod PJC ruled that the presbytery acted properly, adding that it "took extraordinary care to make it clear that their decision applied only to the current expression of [Capetz'] departure and was not making policy or setting precedent...."

Capetz has repeatedly said he will not "take a vow of celibacy." The GAPJC said that a remedial case (alleging faulty process by governing bodies) is not the appropriate way to address an ordained person's alleged misconduct.

"If there is any question about Capetz' conduct, including whether he has led a life in obedience to Scripture and in compliance with the historic confessional standards of the church," the court said, "he, like any other officer of the church, may be held accountable for his conduct under the Rules of Discipline."

The PJC decision on the case of Paul Capetz is posted on the PJC website, in PDF format.

And the decision in the case of Lisa Larges in also posted.

ELCA votes to allow gay pastors

Congratulations to our Lutheran sisters and brothers for their church’s great step forward toward inclusion and justice!

One little thought: Any marriage or other partnership that can thrive while carrying a label as an “accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship,” deserves all our respect. That’s the definition the ELCA study group used in its report to the Assembly – for very good reasons, no doubt. But it still seems like a lot for a couple people who love each other to carry around with them.

Doug King


Here’s the opening of the report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

In a historic change, noncelibate gays and lesbians can now lead parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

On a 559-451 vote taken Friday in Minneapolis at their biennial conference, delegates repealed the ELCA ban on gay clergy unless they agree to remain celibate. It makes ELCA, with 4.8 million members nationwide and 830,000 in Minnesota, the largest denomination in the country to welcome gays into the pulpits without restriction. ...

The new rules, which likely will go into effect in November, allow the installation of gay pastors but let individual congregations and synods make their own decisions about whether to choose a gay pastor.

The rest of the story >>


Reuters also provides a good report on the vote, including a look at the changing society and attitudes that form the backdrop of this vote.


And then ... a warning in a wind-storm?

But more than one unhappy Lutheran took note of the wind storm – possibly a tornado – that on Wednesday afternoon roared over the Minneapolis Convention Center and did some damage to the Lutheran church right next door, before the assembly actually got to the vote on this action.

Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier Journal reports on the Rev. John Piper, a Baptist Minnesota pastor, who wrote:

Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados. ... The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.

See Smith’s blog >>


More Light Presbyterians has issued this statement:

Lutheran Churchwide Assembly votes to support clergy in same-sex relationships 

The National Board & Staff of More Light Presbyterians rejoice with our sisters and brothers within Lutherans Concerned North America as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly voted today in Minneapolis to support clergy in same-sex relationships. 

"We give thanks to God for this affirmation of clergy in same-sex relationships within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. This vote inspires me to continue the dialogue within the Presbyterian Church (USA)," said Rev. Janet Edwards, Co-Moderator, More Light Presbyterians. 

Lutherans Concerned North America, a sister organization to More Light Presbyterians, is in a collaborative partnership called Good Soil: Where Justice Takes Root that works for the full participation for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the ELCA.  

Michael Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer, MLP said, "As More Light Presbyterians, we are grateful for the moral and spiritual leadership demonstrated by the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in today's historic vote. Surely this will inspire and encourage the Presbyterian Church (USA) to do the same by recognizing the faith, integrity and call to ministry of its own LGBT daughters and sons."  

The report from Reuters' news service follows this good news from the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly. For more news and reflections on this vote and other LGBT initiatives, you can go to and

"The Evangelical Lutheran Church's decision and witness today is clearly part of living out the extravagant welcome and God's love for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any other human difference. This is a day to rejoice and give thanks," said Vikki Dearing, Co-Moderator, MLP. 

with hope and grace,

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians

God vs. Gay – thoughts from Lisa Larges

Right after the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Pacific ruled (apparently) against her proceeding with her candidacy for ordination, Lisa Larges wrote a strong, passionate and insightful essay on the church’s continuing rejection of LGBT people. She writes for a gay audience in The Advocate, and urges them to pay attention to religion and churches, even if they find little to attract or help them there.

She begins:

Like a colonoscopy or head lice, the word Christian is a conversation killer among LGBTs. So I will admit up front that whatever it is you’re thinking right now about Christians – hypocritical, antigay, anti-sex, anti-women, anti-choice – you’ve got plenty of evidence to back you up. Let’s also say, while we’re still here in the first paragraph, that whatever the church or its representatives did to you – whatever abuse, whatever violation of trust, whatever was said to make you believe that you were not a child of God in your whole beautiful queer self, whatever the silence in which you did not hear how infinitely and immeasurably God loves you -- whatever drove you out of the church is simply inexcusable. But unless our community changes the “God vs. Gays” paradigm, we will never achieve full equality. Nor will it be possible for so many of us to live out our truths. My truth, strange as it may be, is a calling to ministry. It’s also the truth of a lot of fierce and beautiful gay people I know, whose stories aren’t told often enough.

And she closes:

My wish – OK, since I’ve come out this far, I’ll say “my prayer” – is that all who seek spiritual strength in the Christian church will find it, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. That all may freely worship. That all may freely serve. That is my prayer.

So, amen anyway.

Now see what’s in between >>

Presbyterian Outlook reports on the Synod PJC decision >>

Outlook also reports Lisa Larges' comments in response >>

Mixed decision handed down against Lisa Larges in her long pursuit of ordination

News release from That All May Freely Serve

San Francisco, March 25, 2009…

A ruling related to allegations that a regional church body acted improperly in considering the statement of conscience of Lisa Larges, an openly lesbian candidate for ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was announced earlier today by a regional commission of the church. In its eight page ruling, the commission rejected the procedural process used by the Presbytery of San Francisco to certify its applicants for ministry for candidacy for ordination in the Church. In ruling on the procedural issue, the church commission effectively set aside the certification of Lisa Larges. Certification would have allowed Larges to be examined for ordination.

Her statement in reaction to the ruling: 

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.

In June, the national church’s policy setting group, the General Assembly, voted to remove restrictive language prohibiting gays and lesbian ordination from the church Constitution. The 173 Presbyteries are currently voting on this change, which needs a simple majority for ratification. The ruling in Larges’ case could have an impact on the remaining votes. In 2002, Larges began work with the organization That All May Freely Serve, a group that advocates for a church that honors diversity and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons as full members eligible for ordination. She now serves as the Minister Coordinator of the group.

About Lisa Larges:

Lisa has sought ordination to Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church for more than 20 years. A lifelong Presbyterian, Lisa became a candidate for ministry in the Twin Cities Presbytery in 1986. Because she felt as a matter of conscience that she could not serve the church without being open and honest about her identity as a lesbian, Lisa came out to the Twin Cities committee overseeing candidates in 1991. The Twin Cities Presbytery affirmed her call to ministry as an open lesbian, and that affirmation was overturned in 1992 by a ruling from the highest judicial court in the Presbyterian Church.

In a groundbreaking decision the Presbytery of San Francisco approved Lisa to move forward in the ordination process after she submitted a statement of conscience calling the ban on gay and lesbian ministers “a mar upon the Church and a stumbling block to its mission.”

About That All May Freely Serve:

Called by the life and teachings of Jesus, compelled by faith, and charged by conscience, That All May Freely Serve (TAMFS) advocates for a church that honors diversity and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons as full members, which includes eligibility for ordination to the offices of Elder, Deacon, and Minister of Word and Sacrament.

TAMFS formed in response to a 1992 decision by the highest judicial body of the Presbyterian Church (USA) which set aside the pastoral call of the Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr to the Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY, simply because she was honest and open about her lesbian identity. TAMFS attempts the work of “personning the issue,” through telling the stories of LGBT Presbyterians and building relationships at a local grassroots level.


From More Light Presbyterians ...

Answering God's Call to Serve:
218th GA Ordination Overture 08-B

[9-9-08, revised 9-13-08]

The National Board of Directors of More Light Presbyterians unanimously and joyfully affirmed its support of the 218th General Assembly's Ordination Overture 08-B and the following statement on September 6, 2008 during its recent board meeting in Santa Fe, NM. 

Ordination Overture 08-B is being considered by the presbyteries for ratification over the next nine months. A simple majority vote is needed for ratification.

We rejoice in how God's Spirit moved the General Assembly in San Jose this summer. As we enter into this period of discernment, dialogue and decision we pray that the Spirit will be in every conversation, every presbytery discussion, every vote and with our entire Church.

Answering God’s Call to Serve!

218th General Assembly
Ordination Overture 08-B

    * Obedient to Jesus
    * Led by Scripture
    * Instructed by the Confessions

Proposed new text for G-6.0106b:
"Those who are called to ordained service in the church,
by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination
and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church,
striving to follow where he leads
through the witness of the Scriptures,
and to understand the Scriptures
through the instruction of the Confessions.
In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the
standards of the Church.
Each governing body charged with examination
for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate's
sincere efforts to adhere to these standards."

This overture honors and restores our traditional Reformed understandings of ordination. It places emphasis where it always has been in our Church, and where it should be today – on the vows taken by all officers. These offices of service and ministry include deacon, elder and Minister of the Word and Sacrament. Those vows are to live a life exemplified by Jesus and in fidelity to the Scriptures and Confessions of the Church.

This overture lifts up standards for ordination as the cornerstone for service. This honors our roots while transcending old divisions. It enables us to move forward together in Christian service. It unites us in a single truth, which we have always believed – to heed God’s call to service wherever it comes, whenever it comes, and to whomever it comes.

For thirty years we have suffered from the divisions caused by the narrow and unprecedented discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians.  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be healed when the call to office is returned to the governing and electing bodies who know the potential officer’s character and gifts for office. The Presbyterian Church (USA)) will be healed when the call to serve is returned to the governing and electing bodies who know the potential officer’s character and gifts for that office.

We urge all Presbyterians to prayerfully consider and to vote YES on Overture 08-B! We invite all of you to join this effort to ratify Ordination Overture 08-B.

For more information, educational resources and organizing opportunities, stay tuned at or call the National MLP Field Office at (505) 820-7082. Together We are Building a Church for All God's People!

with hope and grace,


PS - There is a place for everyone in this "Answering God's Call to Serve" Campaign. Stand by for a FAQ on 08-B, educational resources and local organizing tips.  

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director & Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians
369 Montezuma Avenue # 447
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA
(505) 820-7082

Witherspoon co-moderator affirms ordination for a fully inclusive church   {6-24-08]

On Saturday morning (long, long ago!), June 21, the Witherspoon Society presented a time of orientation for commissioners and others – offering some practical hints for working effectively in the Assembly, and some perspectives on a few of the issues that, from our justice-oriented focus, seem most important.

One of those issues, of course, is the question of whether our church will truly welcome lgbt members into its life and leadership. Witherspoon Co-Moderator Jake Young presented this perspective:

Read his statement >>

Ray Bagnuolo offers careful thinking – and strong advocacy – for inclusive ordination   [6-14-08]

The Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, who describes himself as a gay Presbyterian minister of Word and Sacrament, is currently serving as interim pastor of Palisades (NY) Presbyterian Church.

Over the past few months he has posted six carefully considered and documented papers dealing with the ongoing debate about ordination of lgbt Presbyterians.

Details and links to each of the papers >>

Overtures Dealing with Ordination of Gay and Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Persons

by Gene TeSelle, Witherspoon Issues Analyst


The “ordination question” is an old one in the Presbyterian Church, going back to the 1970s and the “definitive guidance” issued by the 1978 General Assembly which cast doubt on the ordination of persons with same-sex orientation. Several overtures coming to this GA include language rescinding that definitive guidance.

Debate was intensified with the adoption of G-6.0106b (“Amendment B”) in 1996-97, with its restrictive language. Several attempts have been made to delete or amend this article, losing narrowly in the presbyteries.

As the church tried to deal with serious differences, the 2001 General Assembly appointed the Theological Task Force (TTF) on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church (PUP), and its key recommendations were adopted by the 2006 General Assembly, including a new Authoritative Interpretation (AI) that affirmed paragraph G-6.0108 in the Form of Government. This defends freedom of conscience in all matters that are not “essentials” of faith, polity, or practice.

Tensions were increased earlier this year when the Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) of the General Assembly ruled that one restrictive provision of G-6.0106b (“fidelity and chastity,” not all the other practices that the confessions call sin) is, in effect, an “essential” that must be upheld. This went contrary to the letter and spirit of the 2006 AI.

Some of the overtures coming to this GA are responses to these most recent developments, the 2006 AI and the recent PJC decision. Others deal with long-term questions about the church’s attitude toward same-sex relationships and specifically the restrictions in G-6.0106b.

Overtures related to G-6.0108 and the “PUP AI”

In the wake of the PJC decision making one sentence in G-6.0106b an absolute requirement for ordination, an overture from the Presbytery of John Knox calls for a new AI declaring that G-6.0108 applies equally to all ordination standards. This overture has been advocated by Mark Achtemeier, a conservative member of the Theological Task Force. (Some angry conservatives, apparently viewing him as a traitor, are calling this the “Achtemeier overture.”) Adopting this AI is certainly the least that this Assembly can do to get the church back on the course set by the 2006 AI.

Many presbyteries are bringing overtures that reinforce the 2006 AI and, building on the experience of sessions and presbyteries, seek its more effective implementation. The overtures

(a) commend those presbyteries and sessions that have incorporated theological reflection and prayerful discernment into their examination procedures;

(b) direct the Stated Clerk to collect models of such procedures and make them available to the whole church; and

(c) remind governing bodies to take theological reflection and discernment seriously as they carry out their constitutional responsibilities.

These overtures come from Scioto Valley, Cayuga-Syracuse, Giddings-Lovejoy, Redwoods, Maumee Valley, Middle Tennessee, Cascades, Western Reserve, Albany, National Capital, and Heartland.

But not all presbyteries favor the 2006 AI. Their overtures follow several different strategies:

(1) rescind the AI (South Louisiana, St. Andrew, Sacramento, Huntingdon, and Central Washington);

(2) amend the AI with additional wording to make it more restrictive (St. Andrew, Pittsburgh);

(3) offer substitute wording that is more restrictive (St. Andrew, Huntingdon, Pittsburgh);

(4) make all the “shalls” in the Form of Government essential for ordination (Cherokee, Los Ranchos, Charleston-Atlantic).

Overtures related to G-6.0106b

A number of overtures call for an amendment to the Form of Government, deleting G-6.0106b (“Amendment B”) and issuing a new AI. These come from Hudson River, National Capital, Baltimore, Albany, New York City, Redwoods, and Genesee Valley.

Various people have commented that this approach, while it would remove a paragraph that has caused much hurt and division in the church, is simply negative, trying to remove it from the face of the earth.

They favor a “let’s make it better” approach, and there are several overtures that offer wording to replace the unjust and prejudicial language in G-6.0106b. No fewer than three different choices are being offered. One formulation comes from Boston; another from Cincinnati and Santa Fe; a third from New Hope.

From the conservative side, an overture from St. Andrew would amend this paragraph with stricter wording. And a proposed AI from Huntingdon would declare it an essential of Reformed faith and polity.

Overtures dealing with marriage

The definition of marriage in the Directory for Worship has led to several controversies in past General Assemblies. Overtures proposing a broader definition of marriage as a “covenant between two people” have been sent by Baltimore and Hudson River.

An overture from New Brunswick and Denver would affirm equal civil protections for same-sex couples and call for a special committee that would study marriage laws and their effects and examine the unique needs in pastoral care for same-sex couples.

Overtures dealing with the Book of Confessions

In the Heidelberg Catechism, the answer to Q. 87 includes “homosexual perversion” as one of the marks of those who cannot inherit the kingdom of God (C-4.087). People who know the text of the catechism from other Reformed churches, or have looked up the original German, will know that this language is not there. It was added in the 1960s, when the entire Book of Confessions was adopted in order to include more of the rich tradition of the Reformed churches. Its wording, furthermore, seems to make sexual orientation, not behavior alone, into a sin.

A number of overtures call for a more authentic wording, with three different approaches.

Some ask, in a general way, that the translation of the Catechism be replaced with a more faithful one (Northern Kansas, Pittsburgh, New York City, Chicago).

Two (from Boston and Winnebago) would adopt the translation now used by the Christian Reformed Church. [Author’s note: this translation, while accurate, loses much of the colloquial force of the original German and thus takes on a more dogmatic tone.]

One, from Newark, offers specific changes of wording not only for this but for three other passages in the Heidelberg Catechism.

For more on the Heidelberg Catechism >>

Where we stand:

The Witherspoon Society has championed inclusiveness in the church for the last 35 years. It opposed the 1978 definitive guidance and the 1996 “Amendment B.” It has sought removal or alteration of G-6.0106b. It favored the adoption of the 2006 AI, while regarding it as only a partial measure, and it deplores the PJC decision that goes against the letter and the spirit of that AI. We urge the Assembly to adopt another AI that reaffirms the 2006 AI, and to send to the presbyteries an amendment that removes the prejudicial language of G-6.0106b. We also commend the overtures regarding marriage and the Heidelberg Catechism.


Wisdom from the Scots Confession
in considering the need for change of G-6.0106b

This note came to us through an e-list of More Light Presbyterians. The author, Witherspoon member Charles Forbes, has kindly given us permission to post it here.


Those who know me would know that perusing the Book of Confessions is not a likely pastime for me, but that is what I found myself doing the other day, for very arcane reasons. I happened upon a Chapter of the Scots Confession that speaks, I think, rather boldly to G-6.0106b. I don't pass this reference along because I believe that it will change the polity climate of the PCUSA in the near term. But it does give comfort to those whose consciences are torn between justice and their ordination vows, which call not only for conformity to church polity, but to be instructed by its Confessions.

Chapter XVIII of the Scots Confession is entitled "The Notes by Which the True Kirk Shall Be Determined From the False, and Who Shall Be Judge of Doctrine."

The chapter concludes:

When controversy arises about the right understanding of any passage or sentence of Scripture, or for the reformation of any abuse within the Kirk of God, we ought not so much to ask what men have said or done before us, as what the Holy Ghost uniformly speaks within the body of the Scriptures and what Christ Jesus himself did and commanded. For it is agreed by all that the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of unity, cannot contradict himself. So if the interpretation or opinion of any theologian, Kirk, or council, is contrary to the plain Word of God written in any other passage of the Scripture, it is most certain that this is not the true understanding and meaning of the Holy Ghost, although councils, realms, and nations have approved and received it. We dare not receive or admit any interpretation which is contrary to any principal point of our faith, or to any other plain text of Scripture, or to the rule of love.

Fairly paraphrased, no interpretation or opinion of any council (read, GA) even though councils, realms, and nations have approved and received it (e.g. G-6.0106b) it is not the true understanding of the Holy Ghost if it is contrary to ... the rule of love.

I love the elevation of "the rule of love" to the same status as "any plain text of Scripture"!

Going straight to the point, surely G-6.0106b is an "abuse within the Kirk of God" is it not?

"It's in the Book!"

Charles Forbes

The Rev. Hal Porter, of Cincinnati, then sent this comment:

It is always good to receive Charles Forbes “musings.” His comments should remind us of the last major statement of our church in the early 1980’s regarding “Presbyterian Understanding and Use of Holy Scripture.” The document is still available on line or in pamphlet form from OGA. The relevant passage is as follows:

5. The Rule of Love: The fundamental expression of God’s will is the two-fold commandment to love God and neighbor, and all interpretations are to be judged by the question whether they offer and support the love given and commanded by God. When interpretations do no meet this criterion, it must be asked whether the text has been used correctly in the light of the whole Scripture and its subject.

Any interpretation of Scripture is wrong which separates or sets in opposition love for God and love for fellow human being, including both love expressed in individual relations and in human community (social action). No interpretation of Scripture is correct which leads to or supports contempt for any individual or group of persons either within or outside of the church. Such results from the interpretation of Scripture plainly indicate that the rule of love has not been honored. This rule reminds us forcefully that as the rule of faith and life, Scripture is to be interpreted not just to discover what we are to think or what benefits we receive from God in Christ, but to discover how we are to live.

The passage from the Scots Confession Charles muses on is used to underline the above passage in “Presbyterian Understanding and Use of Holy Scripture.” Certainly we have failed this Rule of Love as we interpreted the scriptures and Charles is right to apply it to the contemptible G-6.0106b. Thanks, Charles.

Hal Porter


GA Permanent Judicial Commission rules out conscientious objection to “fidelity and chastity” requirement

PJC says only a constitutional amendment will change things     [2-16-08]

The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) has overthrown the authoritative interpretation that the General Assembly approved in 2006, which would have allowed candidates for ordination to declare a “scruple” against a particular requirement for ordination, on the grounds that they could not in conscience adhere to it.

Specifically this means that any candidate for ordination as a minister or elder must obey the requirement of “fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness,” which was added to the Book of Order as provision G-6.0106b.

The ruling of the GA PJC, issued on February 11, 2008, actually deals with three cases, all of which touch on the issue of sexuality and ordination.

The action of the 2006 General Assembly left it up to the discernment of the ordaining body (the session for elders, the presbytery for ministers) as to whether the ordination requirement must be regarded as “essential,” and therefore an absolute requirement, or might be seen as not essential, and therefore might be set aside in the case of a particular individual.

This PJC ruling describes the “fidelity and chastity” provision as “a mandatory standard that cannot be waived.” Further, it makes clear that while candidates may be permitted to “depart” from ordination standards related to belief, they cannot be allowed the same freedom of conscience with regard to behavior.

And it upheld language from a prior Synod of the Trinity PJC ruling which made a distinction between allowing departures from the church’s standards related to belief – but not departures related to behavior.

Presbyterians committed to a fully open and inclusive church, including its practices of ordination, have differed over the past few years in their strategies for dealing with the essentially exclusionary demands for “fidelity and chastity.” Some have sought a gradual approach to changing practice and the application of ordination standards through action in presbyteries, which others have believes that no real change would happen until the “fidelity and chastity” requirement in G-6.0106b of the Book of Order is totally removed.

The PJC seems to side with the latter approach, especially when it declares: “the fidelity and chastity standard may only be changed by a constitutional amendment. Until that occurs, individual candidates, officers, examining and governing bodies must adhere to it.”

It seems likely that this action will reverse the moves toward a more inclusive church recently taken by two presbyteries: On January 15, San Francisco presbytery voted 167 to 151 to approve as “ready for examination” Lisa Larges, a lesbian who works for the advocacy group, That All May Freely Serve. And on January 26, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area voted 196 to 79 to restore the ordination of Paul Capetz, a gay seminary professor who voluntarily set aside his ordination in 2000 in protest over the PC(USA)’s ordination standards.

More reports and comments >>

bullet from Presbyterian Outlook and the Louisville Courier-Journal
bulletfrom the Office of the General Assembly -- an Advisory Opinion
bulletfrom More Light Presbyterians
bulletfrom Ray Bagnuolo, “openly gay Presbyterian minister”
bulletfrom That All May Freely Serve
bulletfrom Presbyterians for Renewal
bullet An open letter to the PC(USA) from "Your Candidates and Inquirers for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer"    

We welcome your comments and additions!
Just send a note.

The Soul-Sucking, Imagination-Challenged, Trust-Bereft Thing We Call The Examination of Candidates for Ordination

by Jan Edmiston     [10-6-07]     

So . . . is this how it’s going to be?

A presumably pre-assigned elder or clergy member of the Presbytery will stand up, identify himself or herself, and then ask a candidate for ordination, "Since we as a Presbytery haven’t heard your answer, can you tell us if you are now and do you plan in the future to be in compliance with the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness?"

Even after the chairperson of the Committee on Ministry has already declared before God and the Presbytery that candidates are asked a rigorous litany of questions – including that one – this question continues to be asked, making what is supposed to be an engaging and helpful examination into an eye-rolling, humiliating, yes – soul sucking – exercise in power and self-righteousness.

Was this the intention of the Report on Peace, Unity, and Purity?

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Professor Cynthia Rigby (who reminded us that "Presbyterian" is still part of the name of that institution) asked us at the September Presbytery meeting to consider whether we care more about being imaginative or being right. Is it worse to be boring or to be wrong? Clearly, the votes have been cast.

Will it be like this forever? Could we, in solidarity with the Peace, Unity, and Purity Committee, break bread together, perhaps, and talk like sisters and brothers in Christ? Or is this simply real live verification that we can further the peace or the unity or the purity of the church – but we can’t further all three?

These episodes are demeaning and beneath us as disciples of Jesus Christ. I am, frankly, without the right words to express my dismay.

But I’d like to offer a challenge:

- If you feel moved to defend standards of ordination by asking this question, please also agree to meet with someone with whom you disagree about this issue prior to the examination for prayer and conversation.

- Meet with the candidate prior to the examination for prayer and conversation.

- Meet with someone from the Committee on Ministry and/or Committee on Preparation for Ministry for prayer and conversation.

And as we listen to each other, we need to remember that listening is not simply waiting for our turn to talk. At the risk of sounding self-righteous myself, I humbly request that we stop lifting up "sexual standards" as the primary standard for ordination. It only serves to further divide the Body of Christ, and I tremble at the thought of how Jesus would respond to this.

Ordination is not about any one issue. It’s about the full package of God’s calling, serious preparation, and community confirmation. And the more that people insist on harping on a single matter, the less seriously they will be taken. In the spirit of peace, unity, and purity I want to take all my colleagues in ministry seriously.

The author:  Jan Edmiston is the pastor of Fairlington Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia and a blogger at A Church for Starving Artists .

First published in the National Capital Monthly, the newsletter of the National Capital Presbytery, Washington, DC.

Finding a new place to answer call

Gay graduate of Austin Seminary leaves denomination to pursue ministry.

A message from Michael Adee, National Field Organizer of More Light Presbyterians

Karen Thompson said she is sad, but not bitter that the Presbyterian Church is still struggling with sexuality issues in ordaining ministers. God led her to the seminary, she says, though now she'll be answering his call to serve elsewhere

Please join us in prayers of blessing for Karen Thompson, Austin Theological Seminary graduate, who is leaving the Presbyterian Church (USA) to follow God's call to serve as a pastor in another denomination, the Metropolitan Community Church.

Central Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas held a special service of Hope and Reconciliation yesterday as they said farewell to Karen Thompson who had been under their care throughout her theological studies at Austin Theological Seminary.

Faith Presbyterian Church, Austin, a More Light Church where Karen served as a seminary intern honored her with a stole to be shared with The Shower of Stoles Project.

In writing about Karen Thompson's following her call from God to serve in ministry, Flynn describes this decision as: "Finding a new place to answer call," with the second statement - "Gay graduate of seminary leaves denomination to pursue ministry." This is, of course, an indictment of our Church and denomination --- that a seminary graduate must leave our denomination to pursue ministry.

The title and subtitle of Eileen Flynn's article should indeed be a "wake up" call to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and other denominations who fail to recognize that God creates all of God's own children in the image of God including God's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children -- and that God does not just call heterosexuals into ministry any more God just calls men or white people to serve.

How many more of our own daughters and sons, and their calls to ministry, are we willing to sacrifice by allowing prejudice and discrimination against LGBT persons to continue in our Church?

Please join us in prayers for wisdom and courage for the Presbyterian Church (USA) to stop the prejudice and end its discrimination against its own LGBT daughters and sons now.

The Session of your Church can be part of ending this prejudice and discrimination by prayerfully considering an Ordination Overture to "delete-B" for the next General Assembly in San Jose 2008. Mike Smith and Madeline Jervis, National MLP Board, are ready to provide resources and assistance to you.

May God's Spirit continue to bless Karen and her family as they begin a new journey and a new ministry.

with hope and grace,


Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., National Field Organizer

More Light Presbyterians, 369 Montezuma Avenue # 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA
(505) 820-7082


Some blogs worth visiting


PVJ's Facebook page

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 thoughtful community.


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

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 lightening up.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


Plan now for our 2010 Ghost Ranch Seminar!


July 26-August 1, 2010



If you like what you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep this website going ... and growing!

Please consider making a special contribution -- large or small -- to help us continue and improve this service.

Click here to send a gift online, using your credit card, through PayPal.

Or send your check, made out to "Witherspoon Society" and marked "web site," to our Witherspoon  Bookkeeper:

Susan Robertson  
9650 Clover Circle
Eden Prairie, MN  55347


To top

© 2010 by Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  All material on this site is the responsibility of the WebWeaver unless other sources are acknowledged.  Unless otherwise noted, material on this site may be copied for personal use and sharing in small groups.  For permission to reproduce material for wider publication, please contact the WebWeaver, Doug King.  Any material reached by links on this site is outside the control and responsibility of the WebWeaver and Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  Questions or comments?  Please send a note!