Tuesday, May 03, 2011

My two cents on 10-A

National Capital Presbytery met Saturday to vote on proposed changes to the denomination's constitution, including the amendment known as 10-A, which would remove the categorical barrier to the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender candidates for church office. Here's the brief statement I made during the debate.
When we talk about this I always hear so much fear about what will happen if we change the Book of Order.
At Clarendon we have been living into the spirit of the language before us today for the past 15 years. We’ve been quite open about this, ordaining, we believe, the first openly gay, partnered elder in Virginia in the mid-90s.
What happened? A few people left the church, and a great many more have since joined, and we’ve moved right on baptizing babies, confirming young people, observing the sacraments, proclaiming the gospel, comforting the sick and the grieving, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, working for justice, making peace, inviting people into lives of faithful discipleship.
That first gay elder would be here today to vote except that he and his partner of more than 20 years had to go to Florida today to attend the funeral of the neighbor of an elderly cousin for whom they had cared – keeping her finances, arranging her housing, visiting her countless time, going to church with her at her Presbyterian congregation in Florida – during the last decade or so of her 95 years.
I mention that circumstance simply to underscore what most of us have come to know well: that there are countless faithful, compassionate and profoundly gifted Presbyterian men and women in our midst who happen to be gay or lesbian.
It is far past time to acknowledge this simple fact, and to make the way be clear to the ordained service of these men and women who are called to such service. I urge you to vote to approve 10-A.
The amendment passed NCP on a 204-80 vote (with three abstentions), and now stands three presbyteries short of being affirmed. Change is slow, but it is a-coming.

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