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