The theme for More Light Sunday on June 1st is, “Life-changing conversations rooted in pride and love.” This year’s More Light Sunday theme gives us an opportunity to reflect on our call to engage in difficult, but life-changing conversations. More than at any time in the history of our work for the welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ people, these conversations offer the possibility to further God’s transforming work in our denomination.
In reflecting on how we are approaching the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we felt it was important to affirm the following about who More Light is and who we are called to be:
We are committed to building up the church and operate out of love for the denomination because, for almost 40 years, our movement of faithful Presbyterians has made a home within the PC(USA).
Our conversations over coffee, in congregations, and as a denomination are intended to nurture an environment where we meet people where they are to discern God’s call to the church as we move forward. We operate out of love for those who are on a journey towards LGBTQ acceptance in their own hearts and minds.
Most importantly, we understand ourselves to be in a church that lives together in unity not uniformity. The gospel and the church are wide enough that we can disagree about interpretation and remain a church family knitted together by our belief in the triune God who “creates, redeems, sustains, rules, and transforms all things and all people.” [Presbyterian Book of Order (F-1.01)]
We strive toward a day when all persons are welcome and can celebrate life’s holy moments with their church families: baptism, communion, marriage, and death.
So, it is with anticipation that we approach the Presbyterian General Assembly as an opportunity to engage in deep reflection, discernment, and a church-wide conversation on the ways the Holy Spirit is moving among us to bless the marriages of all loving and committed couples.
In this issue of More Light News, we celebrate the results of decades of conversations. Rev. Sally Wright and her wife Karen Wagner were both received by unanimous vote into ministry by the Heartland Presbytery on May 3, 2014. Karen Wagner was approved for ordination and Rev. Sally Wright was received into membership. This makes them the first openly gay clergy couple in the PC(USA) to be received by any presbytery for ministry.
This remarkable progress in our denomination results from decades of conversation. Reflecting on the the actions of the Heartland Presbytery, MLP Co-Moderator Rev. Heidi Peterson said, “There are a lot people in the larger conversation who have faded into the background, some still living, many dead, who are quietly smiling and to whom I wish I could say, ‘Thank you for Saturday.’”
Are the conversations we’re called to easy? Not always. MLP Editorial Board members have already reflected on the sometimes difficult terrain here and here. As we enter Pride Month, will you join us in life-changing conversations rooted in pride and love whether you are planning your More Light Sunday service, attending General Assembly as a commissioner, overture advocate or observer, or simply talking with a friend over coffee?
Through conversation we create space for the Holy Spirit to dwell. We watch with awe and wonder at the transformative work God is doing in our midst.
Yours on the journey,
Alex Patchin McNeill