Posts tagged ‘That All May Freely Serve’

June 24, 2012

Statement on Marriage for the 220th General Assembly

That All May Freely Serve

Statement on Marriage for the 220th General Assembly

Through the efforts of many and the strong voices of justice and love, the PC(USA) has led the way in the ordination of women, the welcoming of teaching elders in same gender marriages as installed pastors and other ordained positions, and the calling of candidates who are LGBT based on their preparedness and not on gender identity.

With many others, That All May Freely Serve believes we are now called to complete our circle of family, assuring that the covenant of love between same gender-loving couples be included. We believe that same gender marriages should be recognized as a permanent witness to the love and care God has given us to share.

That All May Freely Serve calls upon the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), convening on June 29, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA, to provide teaching elders with immediate relief to extend pastoral care in officiating at same gender-loving couples’ marriages in states where such marriages are legal. Further, we call upon this Assembly to send to the presbyteries for approval changes to the Constitution of the PC(USA) removing restrictive language that defines marriage in terms which exclude same gender-loving couples.

Therefore:

That All May Freely Serve prays that the Assembly will pass an Authoritative Interpretation of W-4.9000 which will authorize teaching elders (ministers of Word and Sacrament) and ruling elders commissioned to pastoral service to officiate at marriages of same gender-loving couples in the context of Christian worship, also permitting Councils (Sessions) to allow the use of church property for such services.

And further:

That All May Freely Serve calls upon the Assembly to send to the presbyteries for ratification a change in the language of W-4.9000, so that teaching elders and ruling elders commissioned to pastoral service may exercise unencumbered pastoral care and discretion for same gender and different gender loving couples in officiating at such marriages.

That All May Freely Serve believes there can be no half-measures on this path of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With others, we continue the work of opening the way for broad and inviting Spirit of God in the PC(USA), embracing all our sisters and brothers and celebrating in the wonder of God’s love in many ways, including through the covenant of marriage for same gender-loving couples.

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June 16, 2012

Lisa Larges: Final Letter

Dear Friends of That All May Freely Serve,

“Changing minds by changing hearts” has been the shorthand way of describing the mission of That All May Freely Serve. This is what we’ve done together as we worked, for instance, for the change in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church to allow for the ordination of all persons who are called to serve. This is what we’ve done as we’ve worked for marriage equality and the right of pastors to marry all couples seeking to make a covenant of love. We changed votes by changing minds. We changed minds by changing hearts.

For the sake of truth in advertising, we didn’t change any hearts at all, that’s God’s doing. We just tried to do our best to remain faithful to our assignment: to share our stories, even when doing so was risky; to come with open hearts, and a willingness to listen; to build relationships across lines of difference; to deepen the conversation; to remain patient when patience was generative; to challenge when doing so was healing; to seek the best in everyone; to remember, finally, that the Gospel message is that love always wins out over fear.

Hearts changed. Minds changed. Votes changed.

But what I want to tell you here, in the privilege I have of writing this one last letter to you as a part of my official work with TAMFS – what I want to tell you is how my own heart changed. This hasn’t so much been a job, or even a calling as it has been a journey of love.

When we’re engaged in the work of trying to change an institution like the Presbyterian Church, it can be easy to get mired down in an awareness of the many and sometimes tragic flaws of that institution: the mean-spiritedness, the indifference, the judgmentalism, the willful ignorance, the resistance to change of any sort, the failure to heed the prophets in our midst, the turning away from the Gospel message. All of that can be summed up in a word, and that word is fear.

But, what I’ve learned in these last ten years, and what I try to remember is how fleeting and inconsequential all of that is, compared to the slow, steady, and enduring power of love.

I have been mentored in love by those whose lives seem to glow with the Holy Spirit, “Saints on earth and saints above” alike. I have been sustained by love – by those who have opened their homes as we’ve traveled, by those who have quietly taken on the minutia of the behind the scenes tasks that are

necessary to build an organization, by those who have gone on the road with us and shared their own journey of faith with strangers, by those who have served on boards and committees, and so much else.

Time and again, thousands of people across this country have drawn from that deep well of generosity and given their time, their financial support, their talents, and their willingness to commit to believing in a better day, even when that day was slow in coming.

All of that is love, pure and simple. To each one of you who has given so generously from your heart, I am so deeply grateful. It’s love, in the end that changes us. I know, because it has changed me.

I am so grateful that Ray Bagnuolo will be our new Evangelist of love and hope as That All May Freely Serve begins a new chapter. Ray lives from the very center of his heart, and that’s how we knew it was right to call him to take on this ministry. Soon Ray will be telling you more about his plans and dreams, but for now, I want to say how glad I am that he has felt called to serve in this way.

You can watch our celebration service, marking this new day in the life of That All May Freely Serve by visiting us at www.tamfs.org. You can also read there more about Ray and about his dreams for the journey ahead.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to have worked with That All May Freely Serve for these last ten years. Thank you for sharing this journey of love with me. May you know all the blessings of love, the strength of hope, and the abundance of joy in all the days ahead.

With love and so much gratitude,
Lisa Larges

May 24, 2012

Call for Letters and Motions in Support of Janie, Redwoods, and us all!

Dear Friends,

We need YOU to do something.

On Tuesday, May 15th at the Presbytery of the Redwoods meeting a remarkable thing happened. The Presbytery of the Redwoods voted 74-18 to oppose the imposition of a rebuke against The Rev. Dr. Janie Spahr for conducting same-gender marriages. The presbytery stood in solidarity with the pastors and the LGBT community they serve. As far as we know, never before has a presbytery opposed imposing a directive of the GAPJC, the highest court in the PC(USA). In effect, they said to Janie, “You are our pastor. We called you to serve the LGBT community. You have done this and more and now it is time for us to say Enough! We’ll take the heat from here. You have pastoring to do!”

Even more, this courageous Presbytery of the Redwoods took a stand as a governing body alongside the LGBT community, its families, friends, and allies. The Presbytery of the Redwoods stood with us.

Take a minute to take that in… It really is something.

Now, here’s what we would like you to do.

First: please write a letter or card or send an email to Robert Conover, Stated Clerk of Redwoods Presbytery, thanking him and the presbytery for their willingness to let the motion opposing the rebuke go forward and for the vote to stand with our pastors and community. Let them know how important this is to you. If you can, be personal. And, if you would, forward this request to everyone you think might be willing to send a note. Here’s his information:

The Rev. Robert E. Conover, Stated Clerk
Presbytery of the Redwoods
1226A Salvador Avenue
Napa, CA 94558-1817
robertconover@gmail.com

Second: if you are able, please propose a similar motion within your Councils/Sessions and Presbyteries, asking them to pass their own motion opposing the imposition of this rebuke. The motion that was used by Presbytery of the Redwoods can be found here. You can find more information about the ruling and appeals on Janie’s site, as well as on the More Light Presbyterians and Covenant Network websites (or by simply searching the web).

This is an exciting time! We have been working toward these rapidly changing conditions in the church for decades, and it is clear that the Spirit is truly on the move. Folks who are LGBT are being called to serve in churches and in seminaries. Two of the four recently ordained Teaching Elders (Ministers of Word and Sacrament) were ordained through the Presbytery of the Redwoods. And now again, they have affirmed that God’s love and justice must extend to marriage equality. We need to keep on saying thank you, wherever justice and love are so affirmed. So please… Let your voice be heard loud and clear!

We ask that you copy us on your emails at tamfs12@gmail.com. If you send a letter, please let us know that, too. If possible scan it into an email or send a copy to:

That All May Freely Serve
Rev. Ray Bagnuolo
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House
351 E. 74th Street
New York, NY 10021-3701

We hope to reach 500 hundred emails and letters/cards within the next 30 days. So, please keep us up-to-date. If you need any help or want to talk about other ideas you may have – drop us an email or give us a call.

Peace,
That All May Freely Serve

PS: Thought you would also like to know:

Yesterday, The Presbytery of Hudson River in New York approved the action of the yoked churches in Highland and Marlboro (Ulster County) to call Laurie McNeill to be their installed minister. Laurie and her partner spouse Lisa are thrilled to be called to serve in these congregations!

We have only just begun…

May 15, 2012

Janie Spahr’s “rebuke”

Today is the day that our friend and co-founder Janie Spahr goes before the Presbytery of the Redwoods to be rebuked. She was charged — by one anonymous person, which is legal in our system — for celebrating the legal marriages of same-sex couples. The presbytery, the synod, and the General assembly permanent judicial commissions (church courts) all ruled against Janie. Janie has insisted all along that by officiating at these weddings was part of the pastoral care she gives; to not do so, to walk away and say “no” to these couples, would be reneging on her responsibilities as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament.*

Here’s “chapter and verse” from the PC(USA)’s Book of Order which, along with the Book of Confessions, comprises our constitution:

D-12.0000 CENSURE AND RESTORATION IN A DISCIPLINARY CASE

D-12.0100 Censures

D-12.0101 Degrees of Church Censure

The degrees of church censure are rebuke, rebuke with supervised rehabilitation, temporary exclusion from exercise of ordered ministry or membership, and removal from ordered ministry or membership.

D-12.0102 Rebuke

Rebuke is the lowest degree of censure for an offense and is completed when pronounced. (D-11.0403e) It consists of setting forth publicly the character of the offense, together with reproof, which shall be pronounced in the following or like form:

Whereas, you, (Name) ___ , have been found guilty of the offense(s) of ___ (here insert the offense), and by such offense(s) you have acted contrary to (the Scriptures and/or the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)); now, therefore, the Presbytery (or Session) of______, in the name and authority of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), expresses its condemnation of this offense, and rebukes you. You are enjoined to be more watchful and avoid such offense in the future. We urge you to use diligently the means of grace to the end that you may be more obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer
This formal rebuke shall be followed by intercessory prayer to Almighty God.

We hold Janie, the couples, legal counsel, family, friends and other supporters in prayer. We also hold in prayer those who have opposed Janie, that their minds may be opened and that they may realize that they are saying no to love. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., proclaimed that “we will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'”

Amen.

For more information go to Rev. Janie Spahr Charged (Again) by Presbyterian Church (Facebook) or Rev. Janie Spahr Trial Updates.

__________

* Now called Teaching Elder in the PC(USA)

May 3, 2012

Janie Spahr Update: Redwoods Presbytery Meeting

The Stated Meeting of The Presbytery of the Redwoods will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. The Permanent Judicial Commission’s report on the Rev. Dr. Jane Adams (Janie) Spahr’s GAPJC decision is scheduled for 11:15 a.m.

Summary of the Decision:

Same-sex marriages were sanctioned by the State of California from June 20, 2008, through November 4, 2008. During that time period Spahr performed wedding ceremonies for approximately sixteen same-sex couples.

In 2010, a prosecuting committee of the Presbytery brought charges against Spahr for officiating at these ceremonies and a three day trial was held before the PPJC in August of 2010. At the conclusion of the trial the PPJC found her guilty of three of the four charges, issued a Rebuke, and enjoined her “to avoid such offenses in the future.” The three charges read in salient part as follows:

  1. Committing the offense of representing that a same-sex ceremony was a marriage by performing a ceremony in which two women were married under the laws of the State of California and thereafter signing their Certificate of Marriage as the person solemnizing the marriage;
  2. Persisting in a pattern or practice of disobedience concerning an authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order, in that under the laws of the State of California, she represented that no fewer than fifteen such additional ceremonies she performed were marriages of persons of the same sex;
  3. Acting in violation of the authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order by failing to be governed by the polity of the PC(USA) in violation of her ordination vows.

The Legal Defense Team is asking the Presbytery to not rebuke Janie; in fact, to refuse to impose the censure.

There is a possibility Janie, the couples, and supporters will be given an opportunity to speak during the presbytery meeting.

Make plans to attend!

First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo
72 Kensington Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960
 
Follow Rev. Jane Spahr Trial Updates on Facebook.
May 1, 2012

Lisa Larges: Real Party in Interest

Time, as they say, is a river—not pausing, never waiting, and carrying us on. It’s time—or perhaps time’s emissary, timing—which has led me to decide not to pursue ordination to my current call, even as the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission upheld the Presbytery of San Francisco’s vote to approve my ordination to my work with That All May Freely Serve.

It’s been more than four years since the San Francisco Presbytery certified me as ready for a call, more than two and a half years since their vote to approve my ordination, and there have been six trials before the Synod and General Assembly Judicial Commissions since 2008. It’s been a full ten years since I first started working with TAMFS and began talking with the Presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry seeking to be ordained to this call.

Time goes on, even as we wait. Especially in the last two years, as we’ve waited for the judicial process to work itself out, circumstances in my own life have changed.

When I first became a candidate for ministry, I was fresh out of college and on my way to seminary at the age of 22. A few years later, I graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and then, somehow, lots of wonderful years in the Bay Area—26 in fact—slid by. Just in the past few years, I’ve been feeling that primal tug to be near my family. My parents, now in their 80s, are doing great, but at some point you begin to realize just how precious time is.

I kept putting off a move back to Minnesota as the judicial process wound its meandering way up and down the judicatory levels. But, by the fall of 2011, a confluence of circumstances made the time for moving right, and I came home to be near my wonderful mom and dad, my totally awesome sister and her likewise awesome family. We kept our official TAMFS office in the Bay Area, and I carried on my work from my new Minnesota digs.

In the months that followed my move, it has become clear to me through lots of prayer and reflection that my own call with That All May Freely Serve is coming to a natural end. The passage of Amendment 10-A opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for TAMFS and our movement to continue to strengthen our welcoming church. TAMFS is discerning a new way forward that will be more streamlined and grassroots driven. I’m incredibly excited about these changes, proud of the discernment process that our board has committed to, and humbled by the mysterious workings of the wily Spirit. I don’t know what it is yet that I am being called to, only that this call is ending, and I’ve come to this decision while the case against San Francisco Presbytery has proceeded back up to the General Assembly PJC.

Even as the PJC has now ruled to let stand the presbytery’s vote to approve my ordination, being ordained to this call now would require meeting with the COM of the San Francisco Presbytery, approval at a stated meeting of the presbytery of a commission and date, and planning a service back in the Bay Area—adding at least several more months on to the process. This additional time, my recent move, and my sense of God’s call away from TAMFS has led me not to go forward for ordination at this time but to seek a new call.

Just to be clear, this is my own personal decision. The TAMFS board has been incredibly gracious and loving, willing to move mountains so that I might be ordained to this ministry and also deeply respectful of my decision. What’s more, I can’t begin to say how deeply moving and humbling it has been to hear from so many kind friends of how much they are hoping that I should be ordained. The blessings of community that have surrounded me in this process have been simply unfathomable. I can only thank you all for your prayers and to appeal to you for your continued patience!

The PJC’s decision affirms once again the principle that such decisions as ordination are best lodged with the council with the most knowledge and direct oversight of the person being considered. We can trust one another to do this, even as we know we do not always decide perfectly. Since we adopted a new constitution and opened up the process to fully consider the calls of qualified gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members, our church has been blessed to see four extraordinarily gifted and faithful Presbyterians ordained as Teaching Elders. By God’s providence we are now blessed by the ministries of the Rev. Scott Anderson, the Rev. Scott Clark, the Rev. Paul Mowry, and the Rev. Katie Ricks. I hope that the PJC’s decision will give presbyteries that much more confidence to fairly consider each candidate who comes before them.

San Francisco is a divided presbytery, full of what we might politely call “big personalities” of every theological stripe, and yet I’ve only been treated with great respect and graciousness, even by those who voted not to approve my ordination. They’ve also hung in there through a long judicial process. I am very thankful for this, and also thankful for the counsel that has represented the presbytery through lo these many hearings.

My friend and mentor Janie Spahr has counseled many LGBT folks like me struggling with the questions of whether to stay in the church, whether to pursue a call in our church, or come out to their congregation. The question she will ask is, “Are you willing to be curriculum for the church?”

All of the ups-and-downs and ins-and-outs of this long judicial process have been part of what it means to be curriculum for the church. We have to learn together, and we don’t seem to learn well in the abstract. And I can’t say that it’s been anything but a privilege to do this work. At the same time, even as I understand in a deep way that the whole of this journey, and the good work of being “curriculum” has been a part of my sense of calling, this judicial process has also been personally painful. The many delays, and the waiting, have exacted a cost. There’s a kind of spiritual pain here that I’m still figuring out. Suffice it to say that our judicial process, as necessary as it may be, is hard on everyone, from the commissioners to the legal counsels on both sides, to the individuals whose lives are directly affected.

But we believe in a God who is the redeemer of time, and we strive for that equanimity of thanksgiving that Paul speaks of and practiced in his own life. “Gratitude in good times,” Calvin said, “patience in adversity, and [most of all] a wonderful security respecting the future.”

grey divider

Real Party in Interest (legal definition)

A real party in interest is the person or entity whose rights are involved and stands to gain from a lawsuit or petition even though the plaintiff who filed suit is someone else, often called a “nominal” plaintiff. It is the person who will be entitled to benefits of a court action if successful; one who is actually and substantially interested in the subject matter, as opposed to one who has only a nominal, formal, or technical interest in or connection with it. It may be broadly defined as someone who may be adversely affected by the relief sought or the person or entity entitled to the benefits if the action is successful.
April 25, 2012

Something new is stirring

Only a few short months ago, That All May Freely Serve was making plans to end our ministry and find some appropriate ways to pass on our legacy.

Then, we got a note.

Our friend Ray Bagnuolo was feeling the deep tug of the Spirit to begin a ministry of healing and witness with the Presbyterian Church as together we seek to live in to a new constitutional era of welcome and inclusion.

Where fear remains, there needs to be reconciliation;

Where hope springs up there needs to be nurture.

Ray wondered whether there might be a place for him to begin such a ministry within That All May Freely Serve.

We listened.

We prayed.

“Yes,” we said.

We do not yet know how all of these things will unfold.

We do know that Ray envisions a ministry that is grassroots, simple, and integrated fully with the tapestry of our movement for fairness and full equality in the church.

We’re planning a Service of Remembering, Rejoicing and Renewal on June 10 to be held in Rochester to honor this transition.

And we’ll keep you posted as we go.

God continues to work and move among us.

May we listen well.

Lisa Larges
Minister Coordinator
That All May Freely Serve

December 9, 2011

An important letter to our supporters

This letter has gone out to the mailing list of our supporters,
and we want to share it with everyone who has supported our work in any way over the years.

December, 2011

Blessings of joy and love
be yours in this season of hope
and may our world know more of peace
in the new year ahead…

Dear friends,

As the Coordinating Team of the Board of That All May Freely Serve, we are writing to share with you the decision of the board to draw to a conclusion in the work in its current incarnation of That All May Freely Serve in the year ahead.

At our October meeting the board gathered around an oval table over dinner, and then under the wise gazes of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, whose portraits hang on the walls of our meeting space at the Downtown United Presbyterian Church. Together we prayed, carefully weighted each option before us, and then discerned to the best of our abilities the leading of the Holy Spirit for the way ahead.

What remains clear to each of us is that the work of creating a truly welcoming church for all is just beginning. The passage of Amendment 10-A makes it possible for all to serve, but, we are not yet at the point when all will freely serve without the impediment of prejudice, ignorance, or fear. The day is not yet here when any young LGBT person can walk in to a Presbyterian church and know that they will not be rejected because of who they are. We know that the day is not yet here when same gender and opposite gender couples may share equally in the blessings of marriage honored by both church and state. We know that the day is not yet here when presbyteries won’t attempt to make the way more difficult for LGBT candidates and when those same candidates will have a full and fair chance of being considered for positions in churches all across the country.

Nonetheless, the passage of Amendment 10-A provides a moment for us to step back and assess how best the work ahead may be carried out. We believe that this landmark moment in our church offers an opportunity to consolidate the efforts of our movement for full welcome in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We remain grateful for the work that so many will continue to do, especially More Light Presbyterians, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and Presbyterian Voices for Justice.

For the last nineteen years, the hallmark of That All May Freely Serve has been its ability to “person the issue” — to put faces and stories and the witness of faith to the abstractions of prejudice, fear and discrimination. This fundamental operating principle has led us to align ourselves with all who are on the margins and to do our work within the core values of honoring relationship, acting through integrity, seeking the leading of the Spirit and of making a place for all at the table of grace. We will work to insure that our legacy will live on. As a board we are considering options for how we might best do this, and we will keep you informed of specific decisions we make toward that end.

Lisa’s Call

Through her own discernment, and in consulting with our board, Lisa believes that she is being called to seek ministry elsewhere in the church or in her new home of Minneapolis. As she is being called away from That All May Freely Serve, it seemed to us that this decision provided a natural transition point for TAMFS. Lisa will continue on a full time basis until the end of 2011 and then as needed in the first half of 2012.

We realize–with a bit of irony–that even as a judicial action in the Presbyterian Church provided the spark for creating That All May Freely Serve, we will be winding up the formal work of That All May Freely Serve with another judicial action still in progress. The case involving Lisa’s ordination has been appealed back up the the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and we anticipate that it may be heard sometime this spring. We will continue to walk with Lisa through the ordination process and have some hope that it may be resolved even as we are concluding our work. Nonetheless, we are deeply disappointed by the way in which delaying actions of the court and further appeals from members of the San Francisco Presbytery have thus far thwarted our dream of ordaining Lisa to her work with us–a goal we have labored for since we first called Lisa ten years ago.

There is much yet to do, and it will take all of us to do it. We hope you will join us in rededicating yourself to creating a church where all will indeed FREELY serve. We rely on your generosity to bring That All May Freely Serve through this next transition, and extend our promise to you that your gifts will be used to ensure that our work, our values, and our commitment will live on in new forms. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Blessings of joy and love be yours in this season of hope, and may our world know more of peace in the new year ahead.

With gratitude,
John DeHority, Mary Rees, Ed Saphar, and Rob White
Coordinating Team,
That All May Freely Serve National Board

August 8, 2011

Mardee Rightmyer: Lisa’s Twenty Five Years…

About five years ago Lisa asked me if I would preach for her ordination when the time came. Since then I have accumulated a thick file folder of sermon outlines as each affirmative “ready to receive a call” vote started my preparation for a sermon only to have it thwarted by another long and winding court process.

"23 Years Later"

An idea for the sermon I had hoped to be preaching in a month or so comes from an article by Eugene Peterson called “Twenty-Three Years… Persistently.” The prophet Jeremiah says “for twenty -three years… the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened” (Jer. 25:3). Peterson says “for twenty three years Jeremiah got up every morning and listened to God’s word. For twenty three years Jeremiah got up every morning and spoke God’s word to the people. And for twenty three years the people heard nothing.” Peterson then says that the key to this life is the word morning – a new day that gives the opportunity for surprise and creativity and God’s faithfulness.

Peterson concludes his article “the mark of a certain kind of genius is the ability and energy to keep returning to the same task relentlessly, imaginatively, curiously, for a lifetime… The same thing over and over, and yet it is never the same thing for each venture is resplendent with dazzling creativity.” Is this not Lisa to the core? Look at what she has done with her life as she has persistently listened for the word of God and spoken it regardless of the outcome. And look at the young adults who have been drawn into the church by this creativity in spite of church polity.

But perhaps it is for the recent PJC decision that I have been preparing rather than Lisa’s ordination sermon; Lisa learned this lesson long ago. This word is for me as I grapple with my deep yearning for justice for Lisa in the midst of the message that God is in control no matter how the people respond. May it sustain us in the coming year as we persistently wait for the church to catch up with God’s calling.

  • Mardee Rightmyer
    TAMFS Board Member
    (and dear friend of Lisa’s)
July 28, 2011

Ordination Trials

Although the Presbyterian Church (USA) has replaced the “fidelity and chastity” G.6-0106b provision in the Book of Order with new language that allows for the possibility of the ordination of Teaching Elders (as Ministers of the Word and Sacrament are now called), Ruling Elders and Deacons, two cases go before the PC(USA)’s “Supreme Court,” officially called the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC). Since these cases predated the change in the Book of Order (the church’s constitution), they are still in need of resolution.

These cases are Parnell, et al v. Presbytery of San Francisco and Session of Caledonia Presbyterian Church, et al v. Presbytery of John Knox. Although neither is a named party, Parnell is a case attempting to reverse the approval of the ordination of our Minister Coordinator Lisa Larges by San Francisco Presbytery, and Caledonia similarly attempts to reverse the approval by John Knox Presbytery regarding the ordination of openly gay and partnered Scott Anderson. Legal counsel for both presbyteries have filed motions to have these cases declared moot because of the intervening removal of the grounds for these cases.

The GAPJC will hear these cases tomorrow, July 29. Deliberations will continue over the weekend and their rulings are expected on August 1.

Neither Lisa nor Scott is an official party in these cases, but — since their ordinations and their futures hang in the balance — they are in Louisville for the proceedings.

We’ll provide you with news as it develops.

As we have posted several times on our Facebook page, we ask that you all keep everyone involved in this case in your prayers. Thank you.