I was standing just in front of the More Light booth at General Assembly, a flurry of activity was all around me: blessings for scarves, reunions with friends, inquiries about the MLP mission, but he walked directly over to me. I noticed he wore a commissioners badge and an expression of concern. I asked how he was doing, and he immediately told me he was feeling deeply conflicted about how to vote on the two marriage overtures that were soon to come up on the floor of the plenary. I asked him what his concerns were, answered his questions as best I could, and shared with him why my spouse and I deeply desired for the PC(USA) to recognize the commitment we made to one another as marriage.
As our conversation unfolded, so did his look of concern. Slowly he began to smile, and got excited as we spoke about theology and our faith. When it was time for him to reassemble for plenary he smiled at me and said, “Thank you, Brother. I know exactly how to vote now.” He was able to walk away from our brief conversation feeling confident that those of us who are LGBTQ love and care for the Presbyterian Church, USA just as much as he does. His votes contributed to the historic number who voted to allow ministers to immediately marry same-sex couples, and recommend an amendment to our Book of Order to describe marriage as between two persons.
We know from the long history of the work for LGBTQ inclusion and welcome, that conversations such as the one I had, and the thousands of other conversations that took place at GA, are pivotal to building a church that reflects God’s heart. In the upcoming months all 171 Presbyteries will be voting on amendment 14F. As Rev. Janet Edwards aptly put in her recent blog post, “Some say the future of the PCUSA rests on the “what” of this vote. I propose that our future together depends more on “how” we conduct this vote.” While marriage for all loving and committed couples is the what of this vote, I believe, sacred conversations are the how. Over the next year, MLP invites you to participate in sacred conversations about the gift of marriage for all loving and committed couples.
Our goal is to prepare you for these conversations, if you are speaking informally over coffee hour with people in your congregation, holding an intentional meeting with a voting member of your presbytery, formally volunteering http://bit.ly/14Fvolunteer with MLP to host many conversations in presbyteries across the country. Whether you are speaking to one person, or hundreds, each conversation is sacred and an opportunity for the holy to move among us. Over the coming months MLP will share experiences of sacred conversations with you on our blog and on our Facebook page. If you have an experience you want to share with us, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So if anyone asks you, “how the PC(USA) will adopt a description of marriage that affirms the loving commitment of two people?” You can reply, one sacred conversation at a time.
P.S. there is still time to apply to be a regional coordinator. The application is here http://bit.ly/14Fcoordinator.