Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Michael Adee's Open Letter to the PC(USA)

These final three to four weeks will be nail biters as we seek that 87th vote in favor of Amendment A. Two key votes will take place today in the presbyteries of Lehigh and Florida. Check the schedule and the vote charts on the sidebar. As soon as I get wind of the results I will post them here.

This is a tense time for our denomination. Most of those who oppose this amendment are reasonable people and will live with the change that is coming. Some are freaking out and sure that if we approve this we are all in for a Divine Spanking. Still others are calculating ways that they can "be in and not of" the denomination, whatever that means.

It all amounts to a huge distraction. Our focus is clear.
Get the 87th vote. All the rest will work itself out. I mean, really. What is the big deal? We treat people with some semblance of equality. Michael Adee of More Light Presbyterians has written a thoughtful reflection and concludes it with ten reasons to support Amendment A.

It is An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church from One of Your Baptized Kids. I tried to find quotes from it, but found it is all so good I am re-posting it in its entirety. I hope you will take the time to read it and see why it is important for the church to do the right thing.

The healing thing.
The just thing.
For the whole church.

Grace and peace to all of you. I was baptized as an infant at First Presbyterian Church, Billings, Montana. I was taught faith, Scripture, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and confirmed at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sulphur, Louisiana. As a kid and teenager, I loved going to church and being part of a church family. I sang in our church choir with my Dad, loved our youth group of four and the all-church potluck dinners. I had Jesus' bumper stickers on my 1963 VW bug when I was in high school. I probably annoyed some of my friends in high school and college with my Christian zeal.

When I affirmed being gay in my late twenties, the Church was no longer a safe or loving place for me, so I left the Church. I give thanks to God for being loved back to faith by Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. I was ordained and installed as an Elder there. I've served as an Elder at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati and First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I began serving as a volunteer with More Light Presbyterians in 1991 and on staff since 1999. I would not be in the Presbyterian Church, or in any church, if not for Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church and their unconditional welcome and invitation to serve God with them.

I believe the 219th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 10-A offers this kind of unconditional welcome and invitation to faith, grace, salvation, church membership and ministry to all of God's children, not just some.

I've put a lot of my heart, thought, reflection on Scripture, prayer and my life experience into why I wholeheartedly support 10-A and believe it is a gift for God for our Church right now. Our Church will more lovingly and accurately reflect God's heart with the approval of 10-A.

My Top Ten Reasons to Support Amendment 10-A

1. This amendment returns our Church to the historic Presbyterian way of focusing upon faith and character as qualifications for ministry, not marital status or sexual orientation.

2. This amendment honors God's call to ministry and the recognition of gifts for ministry given by God to people regardless of gender, race, marital status, sexual orientation or other human differences.

3. This amendment allows for local congregations to call ministers, elders and deacons who can best meet the needs within their own communities.

4. This amendment affirms the moral equality of all persons and ends discrimination based upon marital status or sexual orientation.

5. This amendment affirms God's diverse creation that we can see in Scripture and in our life together in community.

6. This amendment affirms the gift of love by God to persons not limited by gender or race; and it provides support for the beautifully diverse and sacred reality of love and faithfulness experienced by couples and families in our world today.

7. This amendment allows our Church the chance to shift from 37 years of debate, legislation and judicial cases about sexual orientation and to place our energies on mission, service and a hurting world that needs our care and ministry.

8. This amendment is a helpful solution to the 14 years of departure from the historic Presbyterian standards for ordination. It's time to be honest, G-6.0106b has failed our Church. This "fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness" requirement has brought nothing but hurt, suspicion, division and driven people away from our Church.

9. This amendment affirms that God's creation, God's love, God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are available for all persons, not just some.

10. This amendment affirms Jesus' commandment for us to love God, neighbor and self; and to recognize as Jesus' taught that all persons are neighbor in God's world, no exceptions.

Imagine, dream, pray and work with me for a new way of being Church and serving in our world with the passage of 10-A.

with hope and grace,
Michael
Thanks Michael!

That's it. It is about understanding and welcoming and affirming people.

Let's do everything we can in these remaining weeks to get out the vote and to encourage the church to vote YES on Amendment A.

Check the schedule.
Call friends and others you know.
Find the courage to speak.

4 comments:

John McNeese said...

I would like to add to Michael's story. He also lived in Ponca City, Ok for a number of years. My family sat on the front row of the balcony at the FPC. I was in high school at the time. Michael's family sat four rows away. I remember his parents and two young boys, Michael and his brother. His father was clerk of session.  We reconnected when I served on the More Light board. Small world.

John Shuck said...

My last church in Billings was the one in which he was baptized!

John Shuck said...

Florida Flips!

Votes YES on Amendment A, 49-36!

Tally 81-59.

John Shuck said...

Lehigh YES, 68-48-1!

Tally 82-59.

Five more to go!