On Celebrating the Gifts of People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities
in the Life of the Church
Overture Advocate Statement
Good afternoon! My name is Kaci Clark-Porter, Teaching Elder from The Presbytery of New Castle, who brings you this overture.
Friends, we do indeed give thanks for those who seek deeper understanding. As our recent co-moderators Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston said in their joint proclamation on Saturday—deepened understanding—“seneil”—is nothing short of a gift from God.
Everyone who’s ever come out, first had to come out to themselves—first had to risk going deeper, feeling unsure and squishy about ourselves and our new potential reality. But one of the things I love about this resolution is that it affirms that the process of anything worth doing is hard. Like most of the hard stuff in life, we must begin before we’re ready, before we’re strong enough, before we know enough.
And I’m proud to be a member of a denomination, who’s made a tradition out of not staying where it’s just good enough, but is always seeking a deeper understanding of God’s extraordinary will for our lives, for our world, and for Christ’s church.
A church, who today, prospers from the unique gifts LGBTQ+ people bring to diverse ministry contexts—by serving as Christian counselors; youth directors; non-profit executives; mid-council leaders; faith-based journalists; seminary and college-level faculty, staff, and administrators; college chaplains; military chaplains; hospital chaplains; as Elders and Deacons and Pastors; as Sunday School teachers and youth group sponsors; as parents seeking to raise their children in faith.
My wife, Holly, and I each serve congregations in Wilmington, DE as pastors. From our point of view: we’re livin’ the dream.
Not only do we get to preach, teach, baptize, and celebrate at table. We also get to sit around in uncomfortable folding chairs as the finance meeting goes on a little too long; we get to commiserate with each other when we get home that the finance meeting went on too long; we get to lose sleep over the budget and the building (O God, the building…); we get to worry about why more people don’t give or join or care about our programs; we get to wonder at why people prefer the back of the church to the front and “How-on-earth…that Saturday-night-special was the best sermon they’ve ever heard?!”, we get to marry ‘em and bury ‘em, celebrate with them, and stand by them when their worlds collapse.
Like I said, the process of anything worth doing is hard.
I’ve wanted to be a Presbyterian minister since I was 14. But if you’d told me then that some-18-years-later I’d be jointly-ordained with my wife, I wouldn’t have believed you.
The call came first. Understanding who I loved came later. And that call hasn’t changed—I’ve never questioned whether God got the wrong woman or made some grave error by inviting me into this work.
Like I said, from my point of view, I’m living the dream—a dream I hope and pray other Presbyterians-like-me will, for years to come, live into with their full being.
Serving Christ’s church, God’s beloved community, is the greatest privilege of my life. But the best part—for me and for countless LGBTQ+ people serving the church—is getting to stand with God’s people, and with our own voices, remind each other of how beautiful we are, how resilient we are, how much we truly ARE for one another.
This story we’re living in is painful and messy; it isn’t easy—but what a grand commission it is—to proclaim, week after week, that we know how this story ends…
Thank you for your time,
and thanks be to God.