Sunday, April 12, 2009

About the PC(USA) and so much more...

May something like this (and more) one day be so....

Worldwide Press Release: Easter Monday: PC(USA) leads the way

In a stunning development, major mainline Christian denominations announced today that they have set aside all boundaries related to people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBT/Q). Other faiths indicate their determination to follow, joining in the decision to end the inherent violence of any exclusion of sisters and brothers based on their sexual or gender identity.

According to a spokesperson, “This decision will end the divisions that have for too long separated the wonderful diversity of God’s creation and our families. No longer will our churches be engaged in efforts to exclude members of the LGBT/Q community, instead, we fully open our doors to the discipleship of our sisters and brothers who are LGBT/Q. We are preparing for a substantial increase in our mission and outreach to the hungry, poor, at war, incarcerated, and otherwise marginalized members of God’s family, as a result of the total reunion of our God-given family and all of its blessings and gifts.”

This rapid change was brought about by a recent decision by the presbyteries of the PC(USA) to ratify Amendment 08-B, rewriting the language of an older amendment (G-6.0106b), which had been used to exclude LGBT/Q individuals from serving in the full work and worship of the church. Since that ratification, other Protestant denominations have met with the PC(USA), seeking ways to follow its witness in their own faith communities. Late last week, in a decision that can only be called an Easter-tide miracle, these churches joined with the PC(USA) in eliminating requirements for ordination or membership based on sexual or gender identity, pledging to lead the way for national and worldwide change for the inclusion of all God’s family.

It all happened behind closed doors in one of the most important councils of modern times. “It was as if the clouds parted and the Light of God shone down, within it a voice saying, ‘Enough! There is too much work for you to do for this bickering to continue,’” said one witness to the meeting. “Everyone just sort of took a big breath, looked at one another, and begin a slow embrace that ended up in this massive group-hug! It was really something. The presence of God and tears of joy and justice and love were everywhere.”

One church leader stated, “It’s funny. Now that we’re done with all the wrangling and going about the mission work that is so sorely needed, there are more than a few of us wondering what took us so long to get it. I guess that’s the way it is with us, sometimes, it takes a while. We are just grateful to God and all those involved that we are back together, ready to heal and serve one another in the name of God who calls us all. We are sorry, very sorry, as well, for all the harm this exclusion has done. We will work together to repair what needs to be repaired. We will be better, more faithful, and more patient with each other and the strangers among us. It really is time to unite in this and every way we can find. However you interpret it, that's the message of Jesus, and we’re going to follow him together, differences and all.”

It seems others are listening, as well. Asking not to be identified, a clergy member outside of the group stated: “We cannot ignore how God is working with our Protestant sisters and brothers. We have to be willing to hear God’s voice wherever it is spoken. It is clear that God has spoken to these churches and their faithful. We share the same sacred ground and we wish them Godspeed, as we continue to seek ways to learn from one another. We are already indebted to them.”

It seems there will be a lot of learning from one another in the days and years ahead, as a result of this stunning turn of events. It seems, too, according to these developments that the path to an inclusive, relevant, and vibrant church has become a lot closer to a broad, safe, and welcoming highway for all to travel.

It starts with a vote in favor of the ratification of 08-B. Please support the call for a vote in favor of ratification, so that we can get on with the work God is waiting for us to do…