Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's hard to describe...

Hi Folks,

I should be finishing up a sermon for tomorrow. And, I will, soon, but I just heard about some of the latest votes on Amendment 08-B.

The Presbyteries of Mackinac, Newark, and West Virginia have become the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd presbytery to reverse their last position on a G-6.0106b-related amendment, this time voting YES on 08-B. They were joined by Grand Canyon Presbytery, who also voted YES on 08-B.

You can view the full voting results on

I will report that these last votes bring the tally to 51 YES, 76 NO, and 3 Ties (which are counted as NO). As we all know, a total of 87 votes is needed to ratify the amendment, and there are 47 votes to go. Those of us who support ratification need, and hopefully will be blessed with, 36 of those remaining votes.

As we continue to work and seek your support in ratifying 08-B, what has been challenging to accept is that our church comes to decisions about how we will be church by votes; in different times and different situations, with one group "winning" and the other "losing." In that process, sisters and brothers - all, we sometimes leave the outcomes less unified, less graceful, and I think a little less compassionate toward one another, always with some hurting and some celebrating, but, I think, with more and more of us saddened at how we treat one another in the name of Jesus Christ.

In many meetings during this ratification time, presbyteries have done careful and sacred planning to prepare for discussions and discernment. In each of these gatherings, I believe we have come a bit closer to knowing one another and the God who calls us together. It is my opinion that this time of ratification of 08-B has done more to move us toward a new way of discerning such critically important actions than any other conversations in recent memory.

We know we can do better as a church, and I believe that is why the elimination of the current language of G-6.0106b has become so important, whether it happens this time or the next. I believe that this mission to repair the Book of Order has begun to unite us in ways that were uninmaginable only a few years ago; it has already started to happen. So far, 23 presbyteries in their new decisions have been witnesses to such powerful new unity, driven by the Holy Spirit.

It is true that what was once voted in to divide us will do so until it is voted out to unite us. So be it. It may just be that the LGBT/Q Community, allies, supporters, and opponents, alike, have been given this struggle so that we, the PC(USA), might become one family in the name of Jesus Christ, for all to see.

It's hard to describe, but that would really be something...