Changing Minds & Widening Hearts: Presbyterians to Ordain Gays & Lesbians

Changing Minds & Widening Hearts: Presbyterians to Ordain Gays & Lesbians May 11, 2011

Last night, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area passed Amendment 10-A (205-56-3), making it the 87th Presbytery to vote in favor of finally replacing G-6.0106b with language that allows for the ordination of gays and lesbians.

There are many folks and news sites who have written extensively about the decision, some of the history surrounding Amendment 10-A and our denomination and what this will mean going forward. Robert Austell is compiling a list and here are some that I read through last night:

There were many folks watching the Twitter feed last night awaiting the tally of the vote and I was extremely happy to hear the result. But it wasn’t just the fact that the PC(USA) was now doing something I believe is right and just that brought me joy, it was reading through tweets that said so much in 140 characters:

Was driving when the text hit my phone. My queer child read me the news that my church could ordain him one day. Wow. #10A
Laura Viau

I am in awe. The church that nurtured my journey into God’s grace will now be able to ordain me. Thanks to all. #ptca #10A #pcusa
John Dews-Alexander

I can be ordained in the denomination that baptized me! Amen! #10A has passed! #PCUSA #ptca
John Stanger

If you’re a regular reader of Pomomusings, then it will come as no surprise what my stance is on the issue of homosexuality and the church. As many others were saying on Twitter and Facebook last night, I was proud to be a Presbyterian last night. Not that I’m embarrassed the rest of the time, but it was good to see us “catch up” to the other mainline denominations that have made more progress in this area than we have.

I believe the Presbyterian Church (USA) finally took a stand tonight for justice and inclusivity last night.

I believe there are men and women who will now have the opportunity to live out there God-given callings to serve God, while also being true to who God created them to be.

I believe that LGBTQ people called to ministry in our denomination may no longer feel that leaving the PC(USA) to pursue their calling is their only option.

I believe there are many, including close friends and family of mine, who will not agree with this decision, and may find it troubling and un-biblical.

I believe we have much work to do, still, in continuing to be in dialogue with others who disagree with us on this particular social issue.

Is this the end of the discussion? Certainly not. Did this heal the divide or provide us with the solution? Nope. There are certainly still differences of opinion (this is not a bad thing!) and there are still people who will want to fight this decision (they of course have that right). But I guess I would hope that people would see that this IS the trajectory that we are on. It’s not that we are simply giving in to the changing secular culture – I think it’s a greater awareness to the movements of the Holy Spirit in our midst, and to the love, grace and awesome inclusivity of the God we love.

William Sloane Coffin was quoted saying, “It’s always a good time to change your mind when to do so will widen your heart.” People are changing their minds. Presbyteries have flipped from NO votes to YES votes. More and more people are seeing the heart of God as being wider than they ever could have imagined and are realizing that there truly is a wideness to God’s mercy.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) made a good decision last night. To allow all people the possibility to live out their call to God as a deacon, elder or Minister of Word & Sacrament, regardless of their sexual orientation and practice, is a good thing. It was not a decision arrived at lightly, or without hours and hours of prayer, study by thousands of people, small groups, churches, presbyteries, listening to people’s stories and much, much more.

Again – this conversation is far from over – but it is my hope that we can shift the nature and focus of our conversations to things other than the bedroom practices of our candidates for ministry, and begin to live out our calling to be the people of God in the world, bearing witness to the Gospel and ushering in God’s shalom.

Adam Walker Cleaveland is a Minister for Youth & Young Adults and blogs at Pomomusings and Dazed Dad.

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49 responses to “Changing Minds & Widening Hearts: Presbyterians to Ordain Gays & Lesbians”


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