A Pastoral Letter on Marriage and Reconciliation to the PCUSA
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Dear Friends in Christ,
The decisions of the 221st General Assembly in favor of marriage equality are welcome relief following decades of conflict in our church. That All May Freely Serve believes that these outcomes of allowing pastors to legally perform weddings and for presbyteries to consider amending W-4.9000 will bring us closer together than was possible just one week ago.
The impact of the commissioners’ votes powerfully addresses the violence tied to the exclusion of our family members who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ/Q) with a clear answer that the church has chosen a new way. We rejoice in this prophetic response that establishes a loving witness for all and advances us in the elimination of discrimination in our denomination. As Paul says, “Love is not boastful or rude,” and we see these events as a call to come together.
As members of the PC(USA), our LGBTQ/Q community has been greatly impacted by the deliberations and decisions of previous General Assemblies — decisions that have wounded our congregations, families and friends, while pushing many others away. Yet, on this long journey, we have always striven to honor the full humanity and dignity of those who oppose us, and we are especially alert to doing so now. We bring our Christian love, healing and hope to our future together. The ministry of That All May Freely Serve is dedicated to such healing, as we advocate for justice and love for all in the PC(USA), making sure that no one is ever alone in this struggle and carrying the message of the Good News wherever we go.
The 221st General Assembly’s decisions fill us with gratitude, joy and hope for the conversations and healing that can now occur throughout the church. We readily join with all of good will on this Emmaus path. We embrace the road of reconciliation of our many families in the Body of Christ, and we pray without ceasing for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this new dawn of hospitality and justice for all.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Peace be with you and on behalf of That All May Freely Serve,
Ray Bagnuolo, Teaching Elder and Chaplain
Dr. Susan G. DeGeorge, Teaching Elder and Advisor
Lisa L. Larges, Candidate for Ministry, Minister Director Emerita
Dr. Jane Adams Spahr, Teaching Elder, Founding Evangelist Emerita
Sonnie Swenston-Forbes, Ruling Elder and Chaplain
Elisabeth “Betsy” Winters, Ruling Elder and Advisor
That All May Freely Serve is a Mission of Downtown United Presbyterian Church
and Specialized Ministry of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley
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