Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day 2012 - In my own words...

In my own words…
On May 29, 2009, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church gathered in worship to observe Memorial Day. In this bulletin, the readings have been taken from that day’s order of worship (during which they were read) for our own reflections over this Memorial Day 2012 weekend.
Today as then, in remembering those who have served this nation and are currently on active duty or in reserves, we also challenge the practice of war, it morality, effectiveness, and the remoteness that makes it too easy to forget. We see war as pandemic, its “easy access” too quickly ready to be used to resolve conflict. War is not a uniquely American phenomenon. It landed on our shores as the first inhabitants of the Americas once did; carrying forth traditions of violence we struggle to end today – once and for all.
Standing in opposition to war, recognizing the impact it has on all peoples and nations should never be an indictment of those who place themselves in danger for their country. Rather, we should see those in the armed forces as sacrificing for our inability to peacefully co-exist on this planet. 
Today, we honor and thank all those who have placed themselves in harm’s way as the result of our own shortcomings in making peace on this shared Earth. We pray and work and protest toward a time when their sacrifices will no longer be required. In the meantime, we thank and pray for them all, asking their forgiveness for us and our inability, as yet, to have found a better way. The best we can do to honor all those we remember, is to end war, once and for all, in their names and in the names of all who have loved them.  
~Ray Bagnuolo, Stated Supply Pastor;
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House;

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Courage in The Redwoods

TV Link KTVU Channel 2

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Presbytery of the Redwoods took a stand on Tuesday morning. They really took a stand. Rather than accepting the ruling of the GAPJC and its rebuke of The Rev. Dr. Janie Adams Spahr for marrying same gender loving couples during the time in California when such weddings were legal -- rather than sitting quietly while one of their own was censured -- they opposed the rebuke.

Yes. They opposed the rebuke; by a vote of 74 to 18, the Presbytery stood with Janie. They stood with the minister who has been a part of the presbytery for more than 38 years. They stood with one another and with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community and by their action said what the courts did not say: The church is wrong; we support our minister and really mean it when we say that all are welcome here. We accept responsibility for the actions of our minister; we stand with her. If you have any questions about this, see us. Leave her alone. She and our other pastors have work to do.

In this unprecedented action, something has shifted in this church. Something has been put into motion that is hard to know at this point, but will surely have an impact in our efforts to continue the work of a building a fully welcoming church for all in the PC(USA). 

By this action, The Presbytery of the Redwoods has invited other councils and presbyteries to do the same. They have invited churches and governing bodies to pass their own statements of support for this presbytery; statements that affirm full pastoral care and inclusion of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community in the work and worship of this church under the care of its ministers. Statements that say enough with scapegoating our LGBT community; enough of the inherent violence in these trials and rebukes. It's time for this to change. Enough. It's time to get back to who we really are as loving Christians, loving one another -- in word and action.

Thank you to all in The Presbytery of the Redwoods for stepping up in this most important of ways.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Response to Presbyterian Outlook - May 4, 2012
A way forward together...

Lisa Larges' faithfulness to her call has carried us all through the entire judiciary and legislative process that brings us to this time and place of hope and welcoming for all. For more than twenty years, she has been steadfast in loving and serving this church. Long ago, Lisa agreed to say "Yes" to the call that many reading this will understand. She said, "Yes" and then lived into the mystery of God’s path that now meets the broader highway, clearing the way so that others may freely serve. 

The notion that this is a "victory" can only be embraced by those who misunderstand that Lisa's deep and abiding love for others was never divided the way some have tried to divide this church. This journey was and continues to be about healing an unjust and broken church that through its exclusion of sisters and brothers who were Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) - excluded a portion of God. 

In the ruling of the GAPJC, it was clear that there is still disagreement about whether folks like Lisa (and me) who identify themselves as LGBT should be ordained. Yet, in a hopeful and Christian response, a very Presbyterian embrace of mutual forbearance and the historical traditions of this church, the commissioners' ruling made it clear that we can disagree and move forward without creating distance between us. We can trust God into this time of healing and reaching out to one another. 

It is for these any many other reasons that I started out by saying that this decision creates an opportunity for all of us to live more lovingly and fully into welcoming all. The courage of the commissioners to reach the unanimous and honest decision that they did is a call to us all that this, like other great shifts in the history of our church, signals a time to move forward...together.

As for the title of this piece, “Court clears way for Larges’ ordination” - while the court provided the response, it is God who clears the way. Just as God is now clearing the way for Lisa’s next call.

Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, Stated Supply Pastor
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House
New York City