Here is the link to the article that tells the srory of Janie and other gay clergy being "disinvited" from an Advent vespers service at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the Castro. Below is my letter to the reporter.
We have much work to do in healing and understanding. No amendment will change the heart. That's our work...
Many thanks for your article on Janie Spahr and others being "disinvited" from Advent services, in particular vespers ar Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the Castro.
I should first say that I am a long-time friend of Janie and was ordained in the PC(USA) as an openly gay person in 2005. For me and many others, Janie has been a guide and steadfast servant of the faith she holds dear; a faith that tirelessly calls her to welcome all. She would be the last person on earth to exclude the Archbishop from one of the services she was leading or a church of which she was a part. In fact, she would welcome him with open arms and an embrace. That's Janie. That's the difference.
The irony that the "disinvitation" by the Archbishop is referred to as reflective of and in harmony with the time of Advent and the theme for vespers is stunning and incomprhensible; that is unless the leadership is driven by an irrational fear and dislike of the LGBT Community (many of whom are members of Most Holy Redeemer). If we agree that hatred is an irrational dislike toward others - this borders much too close to a demonstration of the illness of those in power than the welcoming, hospitality, and love upon which the Christian faith is founded. And, the message to the community is sad and dangerous and filled with fear.
For it is true, that every time a member of the LGBT community, its friends and supporters is excluded, marginalized, or otherwise dismissed because they are gay, every time - those implementing such rulings, edicts, or practices become complicit in the violence toward the LGBT community, a violence now endorsed by a church's or church representative's hateful position. Just based on that alone, it would have been a much more prophetic and courageous decision to come together.
And, perhaps, the last of ironies is that the time of vespers at Most Holy Redeermer which now teeters on the theme of exclusion is, in fact, the poorest of reflection of Advent one could hope for.
Again, thank you for your reporting.
Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, Minister PC(USA)
New York City