Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

October 24, 2012

1-877-TAMFS-64: Help & Referral Line

“We want to make sure that when anyone, anywhere who is LGBT/Q in the PC(USA) needs help — that there is always someone on  the other end of the line: to be there; to listen; ready to help; and to make sure they know God loves them and they are not alone.”

We are pleased to announce the new:

TAMFS Help & Referral Line – 1-877-TAMFS-64 (1-877-826-3764).

This line is now active 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and we ask you to spread the word!

We believe there are many for whom this service will be an important pastoral and advocacy ministry, supporting members of the PC(USA) who are LGBT/Q, those who love and care for us, along with congregations seeking help in navigating recent changes and those to come. It will be a way of helping one another by connecting us throughout the country, relying on each other and our experiences to assist those just beginning on this path. We want to make sure that none of us who are  LGBT/Q in the PC(USA) is ever alone or without someone to help us.

Please give the number a call if you need help or have questions. We would be happy to speak with you, listen to your ideas, and work with you in connecting our community and the PC(USA) in this pastoral and personal way.

Also, please circulate this number and information to all you can, including it in bulletins, websites, and any other social media where you think it might reach folks we hope to help.

Once again, the number is 1-877-TAMFS-64  (1-877-826-3764). And, please, if you are experiencing an emergency of any kind that needs immediate attention – call 911 right away.We want to make sure you are there, when we call back!

Thanks for all you have done and continue to do in making this church a welcoming place for all our sisters and brothers. Looking forward to continuing this sacred work together.

On behalf of all of us at TAMFS,

Ray Bagnuolo, Minister Evangelist

ray@tamfs.org

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October 15, 2012

Out of Order

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Please take a look at the preview for “Out of Order” — a documentary in progress

http://tamfs.org/2012/10/out-of-order/

July 4, 2012

Notes from Pittsburgh

Dear Friends –

Sad news…

The opening of the 220th General Assembly plenary sessions this afternoon began with the resignation of vice moderator of Tara McCabe-Spuhler. The mounting pressure against her because she had signed a marriage license for a lesbian couple in Washington, D.C. and the relentless threats and plans for parliamentary procedures to remove her prompted her resignation in favor of removing the distraction from the work of the Assembly. I would argue that the work of the Assembly was, is – in fact this “distraction.” The choice was not mine to make; only to observe and to hold in prayer Tara, this Assembly, its leadership and all of us.

How this will all work out is in the great and loving hands of the Spirit. Truly.

The nominee for vice moderator is Tom Trinidad from Presbytery of the Pueblo. His confirmation hearing will take place later this evening at the plenary session beginning at 7 PM.

Please, keep us in your prayers.
Ray

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July 4, 2012

Notes from Pittsburgh

Here’s an email from our Evangelist Ray Bagnuolo. Please keep the GA in your prayers!

Hi Folks –

I apologize if there are any duplicates in sending this message. I’m still working out my group lists, but I wanted to give you a quick update about General Assembly, in particular about the marriage work. Sonnie has been tweeting and keeping all the media information up-to-date, so you may already know this. Thanks to Sonnie for the great work she is doing here. To have Sonnie as our TAMFS Chaplain, we are blessed.

Last night, after some pretty intense committee work over the previous two days, the marriage committee passed two motions: (1) to study the marriage issue in conversation within the presbyteries for two years and (2) to send to the plenary a motion for an amendment to the constitution to change the wording in the Directory for Worship to be inclusive of same gender loving couples.

It was a stunning outcome. We (TAMFS, MLP, and others) had advocated for both the AI and a Marriage Amendment, as a logical process, providing immediate relief for pastors to marry folks now in states where same gender marriage is legal, while going through the longer process of changing the constitution. Others, such as COvNet, had felt that only an Authoritative Interpretation was right for the time, arguing that the church had been through too much in the last couple of years and didn’t need to go through another constitutional battle.

As it turned out, had we not had the marriage amendment in the discussion, we might have ended with nothing.

So, there is much commentary about what did or didn’t happen to produce this outcome. My own sense is that this particular committee did not want to go the Authoritative Interpretation (AI) route, concerned about the ambiguities in passing an authoritative interpretation that was in conflict with the constitution (since the Directory for Worship would still refer to marriage as being between a man and a woman, unless changed).

There was also an almost inordinate concern with the impact an AI might have with our mission partners around the world. While that is important, it seemed to take on almost a “frenzy-like” importance, stirred up by several different groups. It was part fo the “if we pass this people will vote with their feet and leave the church” — argument. Clearly, we are close to seismic change to get these hyper-arguments, now adjusted to include the rest of the world. Those who oppose us know the inevitability of the change, as long as we continue our work, and they are truly perplexed.

While there is some truth, I think, to the suggestion that those in opposition to our Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community ever having the right to “marriage” in the church have made a calculated decision that passing a motion for constitutional change in the committee will never get past the plenary, thus satisfying their intentions to thwart the momentum – there was also real, deep, concern from many on both sides that if this is going to happen – it has to be a church-wide decision (sort of like placing it on the ballot at the polls). The yearning for deep discussion and conversation was real, even in the midst of other forces. There are more folk, every day, supporting the idea that we are one in the eyes and creation of God and are called to love each other. It’s a slow process, but because of all the work that has gone before, our continuing presence, and the changes around us — it is happening. You can see it here, as well. It is still true that getting to know one another personally is what produces the real change in hearts and minds.

So, in a couple of days, we will know whether or not we will be working to help ratify the next amendment to bring greater love and inclusion to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers. Whatever may be ahead, and anything can happen on the floor of the plenary! — we will all have a chance to serve in this work going forward.

Thanks for all your prayers. Thanks again to Sonnie for all her help and to Betsy, who is here with us, encouraging us forward! Let us know if you have any questions, and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

Blessings, Ray

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May 16, 2012

From the Executive Presbyter of Redwoods Presbytery

Dear Members of the Presbytery,Image

Yesterday at our stated meeting, the presbytery voted by a 74/18 majority to express its opposition to the imposition of the rebuke to the ruling by the Presbytery Permanent Judicial Commission, and upheld by the Synod PJC and General Assembly PJC, that the Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr had acted contrary to the Constitution of the PC(USA) when she conducted same gender marriage ceremonies. The entirety of the motion which was approved is attached. There may be a variety of interpretations of the presbytery’s action by members of the presbytery. You may also hear a variety of interpretations by the news media.

The motion was very thoughtfully crafted and carefully worded to express the presbytery’s opposition. In other words, the vote of the presbytery was effectively a collective dissent by an overwhelming majority of members present. While ordinarily expressed by an individual, the opportunity to dissent is provided for in the Constitution of the PC(USA) and is an important means by which a member may express herself or himself. The opportunity to dissent is a value held by the PC(USA) and it is certainly a value held by the Presbytery of the Redwoods. While the action of the presbytery yesterday does not undo the judicial decision, it does express the presbytery’s collective opposition to the imposition of the rebuke. The position of the presbytery by yesterday’s vote is clear. The decisions of the Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly PJCs are also clear. Does this create some ambiguity? Possibly, but it is hardly the first time people of faith have been confronted by ambiguity, and I have every confidence that we will remain firmly grounded as we find our way through it.

The presbytery recognizes that not everyone at the meeting, nor in the presbytery, agrees with the motion that was approved. The opportunity was given and encouraged for any who wanted to dissent from the approved motion to do so, and we expressed our willingness to assist in the dissent or protest process. While none availed themselves of this opportunity, we always seek to display such openness to hearing opposing points of view. This is the way we learn and grow.

Same gender marriage is at the forefront of society, national politics, and the church. The Presbytery of the Redwoods has displayed repeatedly, and did so again yesterday, a way of being and behaving in the midst of challenging issues that is an example for both the church and the world: openness, grace and respect, even in the midst of profound disagreement and pain. I trust this to be the way of Christ for the life of the world.

With my blessing and peace,
Robert E. Conover

May 16, 2012

Ray Bagnuolo: Courage in The Redwoods

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Presbytery of the Redwoods took a stand on Tuesday morning. They really took a stand. Rather than accepting the ruling of the GAPJC and its rebuke of The Rev. Dr. Janie Adams Spahr for marrying same gender loving couples during the time in California when such weddings were legal — rather than sitting quietly while one of their own was censured — they opposed the rebuke.

Yes. They opposed the rebuke; by a vote of 74 to 18, the Presbytery stood with Janie. They stood with the minister who has been a part of the presbytery for more than 38 years. They stood with one another and with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community and by their action said what the courts did not say: The church is wrong; we support our minister and really mean it when we say that all are welcome here. We accept responsibility for the actions of our minister; we stand with her. If you have any questions about this, see us. Leave her alone. She and our other pastors have work to do.

In this unprecedented action, something has shifted in this church. Something has been put into motion that is hard to know at this point, but will surely have an impact in our efforts to continue the work of a building a fully welcoming church for all in the PC(USA).

By this action, The Presbytery of the Redwoods has invited other councils and presbyteries to do the same. They have invited churches and governing bodies to pass their own statements of support for this presbytery; statements that affirm full pastoral care and inclusion of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community in the work and worship of this church under the care of its ministers. Statements that say enough with scapegoating our LGBT community; enough of the inherent violence in these trials and rebukes. It’s time for this to change. Enough. It’s time to get back to who we really are as loving Christians, loving one another — in word and action.

Thank you to all in The Presbytery of the Redwoods for stepping up in this most important of ways.

May 15, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Justice Prevails!

A motion by Janie Spahr’s co-counsel and Redwoods Presbytery Member Scott Clark was made to Redwoods Presbytery: Be it resolved that the Presbytery of the Redwoods opposes imposition of the rebuke set forth in the decision dated August 27, 2010, and the faithful life of ministry lived out in this Presbytery.

This motion PASSED: 74 aye, 18 opposed.

Thanks be to God!

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Scott Clark and Beverly Brewster, part of the legal team, with the Rev. Dr. Janie Spahr before the GAPJC appeal in San Antonio earlier this year.

May 11, 2011

Webcast Service of Prayer and Thanksgiving

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
We have already come,
‘Tis grace hath brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home.

Join us on Saturday May 14, 7:00 pm Eastern time, wherever you are
for a simple service of prayer and Thanksgiving.

Find us on Facebook, or at tamfs.org and click on the live webcast link!

Our service will run about 30 minutes, and we’d love to have you with us!

Let the first word, and let the last word, be Thank You.

Let our prayers rise up, and may God’s blessings be poured out upon the Presbyterian Church,
so that the love of God will shine out from us.

Shine shine shine like the promise of a new day!

Please join us as we unite across the web and throughout the Church!!

May 11, 2011

PCUSA approves Amendment 10-A

Brothers and sisters, we know that there is yet work to be done in our neighborhood, in our state, in our nation, in the world – and will be work to do until Jesus comes again in glory. But today we celebrate this piece of work that has been accomplished, and the blessing of justice which opens the door to the great gifts God will share with the church through our brothers and sisters in the GLBT community. As my own child said to me in a one-line email last night, “It’s about time.”

  • from a congregational letter written by Karen Henn Allamon,
    Pastor and Head of Staff at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church,
    Atlanta, Georgia

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been voting on an amendment to our church constitution which would allow for the ordination of publically-identified gay and lesbian (and to a lesser degree bisexual and transgender) people to answer God’s call to serve as Ministers of the Word and Sacrament, Elders, and Deacons.

Last night, at the meeting of the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area, the 87th affirmative vote for ratification was cast. The amendment will now go into the Book of Order effective July 10, 2011, one year after it was adopted by the 219th General Assembly.

Here are the words of the amendment:

Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

We give thanks to God! We also give thanks for each of you for supporting our ministry in whatever way over the years.

Here is a press release that was jointly issued by Covenant Network, More Light Presbyterians, Presbyterian Voices for Justice, Presbyterian Welcome, and TAMFS:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2001
PRESS RELEASE

Media Contact: Michael Adee, More Light Presbyterians – 505.577.0086
Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network of Presbyterians – 216.658.1770
Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Presbyterian Welcome – 917.776.0292
Sylvia Thorson-Smith, Presbyterian Voices for Justice – 520.820.1544
Lisa Larges, That All May Freely Serve – 415.401.6468

Presbyterians Join Protestant Movement to Accept Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Ministers

Minneapolis, MN, May 10, 2011 — In Minneapolis, Minn., May 10, 2011, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) crossed an historic threshold as Presbyterians in the Twin Cities area voted to eliminate all official barriers to the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as ministers and lay leaders in their 2.4 million member denomination. With their vote the Twin Cities Presbyterians were the 87th Presbytery (a regional governing body) to vote yes, giving the denomination the majority of votes needed to approve the landmark change. Presbyterians join a growing Protestant movement of Lutherans, Episcopalians, and members of the United Church of Christ who have eliminated official barriers to leadership by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.

Coincidentally, the process began in Minneapolis in July of 2010 when the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) met at its biennial General Assembly to vote on church policy. Since this was a constitutional amendment, a ratification process began to garner the required majority of the 173 regional presbyteries. Three other times General Assembly leaders voted to eliminate the rules that blocked gay clergy. This time, after decades of work for justice, a majority of regional Presbyteries ratified the policy change.

“While it has taken longer for our Church to get to this amazing moment of entering into a new era of equality, this voting process has given us the opportunity to affirm that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are part of God’s good creation and can be called by God to serve the church. The thousands of conversations, prayers and the sharing of hopes and dreams are all part of building a Church that reflects God’s heart,” said Dr. Michael Adee, Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians.

“Passage of this amendment restores our long-standing Presbyterian emphasis upon faith and character regarding ordination. Now, faithful and qualified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians can openly serve the church with energy, intelligence, imagination and love,” said the Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards, Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians. “After such a momentous decision, it is also our tradition to lift each other up in prayer and a generous spirit, regardless of how we voted.”

“Passing this amendment makes clear the good news that the Presbyterian Church welcomes and values every person – because Jesus does. Its passage removes an enormous stumbling block for many who would otherwise be drawn to following Jesus,” said the Rev. Mary Lynn Tobin, Co-Moderator, Covenant Network of Presbyterians.“ While this action does not oblige any Presbyterian to change their understanding of scripture, we rejoice that our church will now be able to receive the service of all whom God calls,” added the Rev. David Van Dyke, Co-Moderator, Covenant Network of Presbyterians.

“We stand looking at a new day in the Presbyterian Church that so many have been waiting for,” said the Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Minister Director of Presbyterian Welcome. “I have experienced firsthand the abundant gifts that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Presbyterians are longing to give in ordained leadership and I could not be more grateful that now they can share those gifts with our denomination.”

“With this vote, our church is demonstrating that we are choosing to reach out to a new generation,” said Lisa Larges, Minister Coordinator for That All May Freely Serve. “Young people can now be proud of their church. We’re showing that we are serious about caring for people and sharing the Gospel.”

“Thanks be to God that this day has come!” said Sylvia Thorson-Smith, from Presbyterian Voices for Justice. “We rejoice that God’s justice-loving Spirit has blown like a mighty wind through our church after long decades of struggle. For years we have wept for the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians who have left our church because their calls were denied. But today, we shed tears of jubilation that our church has finally said YES to their full participation. May God bless the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and all people of faith with wisdom, grace, and love as we go forward into this liberating future.”

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  • More Light Presbyterians: A national network of congregations & people seeking the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA). http://www.mlp.org/
  • Covenant Network of Presbyterians: Toward a Church as Generous and Just as God’s Grace. http://www.covnetpres.org/
  • Presbyterian Welcome: Working for a Church where God’s call to service is affirmed in all persons. http://www.presbyterianwelcome.org/
  • Presbyterian Voices for Justice: Proclaiming God’s extravagant love and justice in church and society. http://presbyvoicesforjustice.org/
  • That All May Freely Serve: Advocating for an inclusive church that honors diversity and welcomes Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons as full members. http://tamfs.org/
March 3, 2011

Reactions to our Webinar: THE CHURCH POSSIBLE!

Rachel Whaley Doll

Interesting questions brought up at the first webinar. My response to what I would like to see after the GLBT and ordination questions are answered; my three words were honesty, connection and mission.

One thing it’s easy to lose sight of as we ask large questions about a denomination, is the actual act of going to church. Every week. You rush and try to get your ducks in a row. Put on an “I’ve got it all together” face and slip in a pew, trying to listen to the sermon as you are thinking of who is here and who is not. Until we as individual members can begin to be honest with one another, and share our fears, joy and doubts together, I don’t think we will be relevant to anyone.

It’s so hard to answer the “How are you” question with anything except a “fine,” but I think too often we simply skim the surface of relationships within our church. Relationships that could bring healing and joy and much needed connection. I think we are so afraid of making waves within our individual ponds that there is no hope of causing a movement toward or away from anything outside of the walls of our own church buildings.

I am not one to quote scripture, but Revelation 3:15-16 comes to mind. “To the church in Laodicea write ‘I know your works, you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were either hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” We are very good at being politically correct, to the point of silencing our passion for fear of offending someone about something. I grew up with these people, or I play golf with these people, I know they are more conservative, more liberal, more whatever, so I will not say what is burning in my heart because it might make them angry or think differently about me.

It’s scariest to take a stand surrounded by our own community. Or maybe that’s just me. I am finally beginning to get tired of being appropriate, of being lukewarm. Not sure what that means, or where it will take me, but I’m excited about looking around and starting to really see the possibilities.

Rachel Whaley Doll

Rachel Whaley Doll is a thirty-something “On the Go” mom of two who enjoys writing, connecting and working towards a time when all are welcome to share their gifts from God together.  She resides in upstate New York with her family and their very furry dog.


Devin Berry

Lisa—

Sometimes as a youth in the church it feels as if we often go overlooked. All too often it seems impossible to get involved with things because we lack the years of experience that those, decades older than us, possess. When there are so few youth in the church it is hard to make people take notice of us and make them listen to our ideas and hear what we truly care about. As I said in the chat, during the webinar, it is things like this, the ability to take part in a webinar with other members of the denomination, on a topic I care deeply about, and be taken seriously, even though I am a youth, that keeps me in love with our church. I love the Presbyterian Church (USA) and I appreciate all of the opportunities that I have been afforded thus far, I just hope that there will be a swing in the church, when our congregations realize the amount of youth we are losing, that will places a greater light on the youth and the role that we are more than capable of playing given the chance.

Thank you for hosting this webinar and thank you for the opportunity to participate.

Pax,
Devin Berry

I have grown up in the Presbytery of Boston, and love being involved in all aspects of the church. I am currently a senior in College, applying to seminary, and was recently enrolled as an Inquirer in the Presbytery of Boston.