Tomorrow’s Conversation: Our Vote on Ordination
I find myself waiting with nervous anticipation for this Saturday, when the Pittsburgh Presbytery will vote on Amendment 08-B. If passed, this amendment would allow all of us who follow Jesus’ teachings and example and who feel called by God — including our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers in Christ — to serve our communities as ministers, elders and deacons.
As many of you know, our fellow presbyteries around the country have been engaged in prayerful conversation about this amendment. And the results of many of these conversations have surprised and delighted me.
There are a couple of developments, right now, that give me hope. First there are the stories from unexpected presbyteries like Sheppards and Lapsley in central Alabama, Tres Rios in west Texas and North Carolina – all of which voted for inclusion. In the Presbytery of Western Carolina, they say there was utter and profound silence when the vote was announced. Everyone paused to mark how the Spirit had moved people there.
Then there was the wife of a retired minister whose husband was napping when I called to talk about Amendment 08-B. She wanted to know how I read Scripture, so I shared the emerging understanding of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts as a sexual minority of that time period. He was baptized by Philip and tradition claims this eunuch became the founder of the Ethiopian Church still active today. She said she had never heard Scripture talked of in a way supporting gays and lesbians, and asked where she could learn more. Our conversation shifted towards an embrace of all those with the gift of God’s call and the fortitude to follow Jesus’ teachings and example.
As we approach our own conversation and vote in Pittsburgh this weekend, I hold the Presbyteries of Texas, Alabama and North Carolina in my heart. They are beautiful examples of the reconciliation that is possible when we come together in prayerful dialogue. I pray that our community, too, embraces this vote as an opportunity to talk openly and listen to each other.
– Reverend Janet