April 5, 2014
This morning I write to you from Grand Junction, Colorado. I am on my way to Colorado Springs, where I will worship tomorrow with Tom Trinidad, Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church and Vice Moderator of the PC(USA). I am looking forward to being with Tom and the congregation at Faith PC, before heading north and east with visits planned in Rochester, Minnesota; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, Michigan; and finally home to Rochester, NY – after seven weeks and more than a 9,000 mile road trip. I have been blessed on this journey at least as many times as miles I’ve traveled, and likely more!
If you have some time, I invite you to visit That All May Freely Serve’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tamfs. There are pictures and comments that have been collected along the way. This and more, as we continue our evangelism, inviting all to participate in a network of prayer, presence and advocacy – as a national mission of Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY and a specialized ministry of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.
I also invite you to visit www.kitchentablenews.com, which is part of our tamfs.org website. This is a place where I get to play with Front Page, probably one of the oldest web design software programs (and only one I really know). This section of our web will be growing as we include several projects and information resources that are underway. In the meantime, you may find some things there that interest you, from my schedule to our budget.
It is wonderful to keep in touch with everyone as I travel, and I appreciate your emails and comments, phone calls and texts. It would be too distant out here, if it weren’t for your encouragement and editing of my frequent spelling and grammatical errors and video flubs!
God bless all, and thanks for keeping us and this work we share in your prayers,
In the midst…
March 18, 2014; Pasadena, CA
Greetings from Fuller Theological Seminary. That All May Freely Serve has been attending the Moderator’s third and final colloquium of his term, “The Church: Communities of Worship and Witness.” This morning, Tuesday, is the second of three days of presentations, panel feedback, and open questions and answers. You can find out more about the largest Presbyterian Seminary in the country here; an increasingly diverse conservative evangelical center. I know, there’s a lot there to wrap our minds around, but it is true – if in its earliest of stages – this place is changing, too.
Fuller Theological Seminary has been a welcoming and respectful host, and I have had many opportunities for open conversations about our lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning folks in the church. While there have been some well-nuanced, but nonetheless difficult statements and teachings in the midst of some presentations – such as an oblique reference by one presenter to “subversive agents of the Kin[g]dom” – still, this is an important place to be and to make sure that our voices and presence is heard and seen. Whenever that happens – so too do those conversations that change us all. It is perhaps the most important reason we attend these gatherings. At a time when it is literally impossible not to love, know, care for, teach, serve, or pastor folks who identify as LGBTQ/Q – even our most fervent opponents are finding themselves in a struggle. Our work of evangelizing the Good News of God’s welcoming for all – is being heard and embraced in ways that are faithful and a blessing to many who are listening. Listening because of knowing and loving who it is God make has us to be.
You can follow the live feeds of the colloquium and the archives at www.pcusa.org/moderator.
More to come… keep us in your prayers, as we do you in ours.
That All May Freely Serve
A Ministry of Prayer, Presence, and Advocacy
A bit of news on our travels… 3/10/2014
Friends, I am happy to share a bit of news from our recent outreach. By now, we hope you have heard about the installation of Rev. Dr. Beth Buckingham-Brown, an open lesbian woman, as the pastor of Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago, IL. It was a wonderful celebration of the gifts and call of both this congregation and its new pastor, and with both Janie Spahr and Lisa Larges there to be part of the installation — well, it added to a circle that continues to grow wider. For pictures of the day, take a look at our gallery at www.starflyrpro.smugmug.com/TAMFS.
While in Chicago, we also attended the Chicago Presbytery’s L.E.A.D. Conference, called Peacemakers All: Generosity of Spirit in a TIme of Fear. We were blessed by stirring worship with folks from across the presbytery and lifted by the powerful sermon delivered by Rick Ufford-Chase.
Our time in Chicago came to a close with a reunion of many friends from That All May Freely Serve Chicago at the home of Gail Russell and Gerri Mead. A wonderful gathering with such great friends! Photo is missing Bill and Lorena Lucy, who needed to leave early.
From L to R: Top Row: Deb Stracco, Pennie Ebsen, Greg Boyer, Barry Smith, Jane Baker, Gerri Mead, Gail Russell; Second Row: Beth Buckingham-Brown, John Hobbs, Janie Spahr, Nanette Sawyer, Andrea Kirksey; and Front Row: J. E. Buckingham. This photo and others are on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tamfs.
I left Chicago last week and continued my drive to Spokane, Washington. On Wednesday, I will be attending the third and final gathering of Unity with Difference, a series of conferences convened by Moderator Rev. Dr. Neal Presa, shortly after he was elected as Moderator of the PC(USA) at the 220th General Assembly. These talks bring together conservative and progressive leadership in our church, working together to deepen our discussions and understanding of one another. More on these talks can be found at www.pcusa.org/moderator. This third conversation, by the way, will focus around “Race, Gender, Religious Identities.” That All May Freely Serve has participated in all three conferences and hopes that the newly-elected moderator at the next General Assembly will continue to the dialogue that has already begun additional conversations between the leaders of these groups.
We welcome and are sustained by your prayers and continued work in congregations throughout the church. Every conversation makes a difference!
Please continue to visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TAMFS and for information on our travels, media, budgets and more, please visit our Kitchen Table News page. And, we love to hear from you! Contact us any what you like: by commenting here, calling us at 1-877-TAMFS-64; Text us at 914-217-3173; Twitter @tamfs; on our Facebook Page; email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Godde bless you and thanks for visiting That All May Freely Serve!
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