By Rev. Karen Allamon, Pastor of Rock Spring Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia
“It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it is…”
Rock Spring’s story, like all stories of God’s people, is a story of cowardice and of courage, of inaction and action, a journey to a promised land – and yet with some miles to go before we sleep.
It was many years ago that More Light first shown on the steeple of Rock Spring, but the church was somewhat divided on being known, as it was perceived at that time, as a “Gay Church”. It was voiced by some that it was “fine” for LGBTQ to be part of the church, but they “didn’t want the rainbow flag flying” outside the church.
During the journey, in 2006 the church studied “A Season of Discernment” and the session voted to become part of the Covenant Network. Voted, but nobody did the follow up.
However, even with these failings, on the way to full inclusion in ordination Rock Spring practiced a “civil disobedience” to the constitution, ordaining LGBTQ to the office of Ruling Elder and Deacon, endorsing LGBTQ as inquirers for seminary.
Eric Thomas, who just graduated from seminary and has been called to serve as Christian Ed Director for First Presbyterian of Brooklyn while studying for his Ph.D. at Drew, was endorsed for the process before it “was legal”. Elders James Bodie and David Owens and Deacon Hiram Perez-Cordero were all ordained to office before 10A. Our Vice Moderator of Presbyterian Women, Dea Adams, will become the first LGBTQ person to be moderator of our PW in 2014.
Other marks of full inclusion now run deeply in the life of the church.
In 2011, when 10A passed, somehow (I suspect Eric) my letter to the congregation got picked up and quoted on the front page of the “That All May Freely Serve” website. That’s a flag flying.
When one of our couples, David Lowery and Michael Milligan, brought their twins for baptism three years ago, we were all mindful that it was both a historic and holy moment we were celebrating. What “family” looks like had changed at Rock Spring. That’s a flag flying.
When a member of a former church asked me to preside at their wedding in New York, the session was adamant that they not only give me permission to be gone, but that their “enthusiastic endorsement” of pastoral participation in a same gender wedding to be on the record. That’s a flag flying.
And now, finally, this. On September 8, 2013, the session of the Rock Spring Presbyterian church voted unanimously to be a More Light Church.
How privileged I am to serve as their pastor. How blessed we all are to be children of the God of Love, blessed be God’s Holy Name.