Building Gracious Space in the PCUSA: Forgiveness

When I heard that Marc Benton stood before the Hudson River Presbytery in September to ask for forgiveness, I was floored. Nearly 15 years earlier, Benton brought charges against the presbytery for allowing same-sex weddings, setting in motion a series of trials and accusations within the PCUSA that sent ripples far beyond the Hudson River. Today, his apology and our embrace of forgiveness offer a similar potential to make waves, if we are willing to accept it.

I recently wrote about my decision to forgive Marc Benton and the integral role forgiveness must play in restoring our church. Below is an excerpt from the piece, which you can read in full on MLP’s blog.

My sense of forgiveness was given to me many years ago by Marjorie Thompson, a wise spiritual director. She suggested, forgiveness is ‘to release the one who has harmed you from the sentence of your judgment.’ This is what we desperately need in the PCUSA. This is one way to understand our essential reformed tenet of ‘freedom of conscience.’ This is a building block of gracious space.

I encourage you to read the piece in full and offer your own reflection in the comments below or on MLP’s website. What does true forgiveness look like to you? What role does it play in the discussions facing the PCUSA in the months to come?

I encourage you also to read the first post in my series on building a gracious space in the PCUSA:

On Shared Feelings

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