A while back an online petition was circulated that was a letter from seminarians to the ELCA in support of LGBT persons in monogamous relationships to be included in rostered ministry in the ELCA. At that time, I could not in good conscience sign said petition. I could not come down on one side of the other. God kept challenging my long held positions. Particularly today, however, as I prayed and listened to the CWA plenary session, I had to add my opinion to that of the majority. Listening and hearing people's hearts is something I have learned during CPE this summer. As I practiced that skill today, the issue was not one of sexuality, but of love, the fruit of the Spirit, and the God that does what God wants to do in choosing whom God wills. There were faces, prayers, words, people before me now to consider rather than black and white words and sides of an issue.
I am brought back to a fairly contentious church council meeting back at my home church in RI. We were discussing and considering becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. I was dead set against it and felt like we would be on a "slippery slope." God and others have challenged me over the years. Months ago I could not have agreed with today's decisions. Today, if I was a voting member, I would have voted in the affirmative.
True confessions: when the petition was circulated favoring change of "Visions and Expectations" and supporting rostering of those in same-gender lifelong monogamous relationships from seminarians, I could not sign it. That is not the case today.
Bishop Hanson's remarks sum up my heart's cry at this time for our church,
"We meet one another finally, not in our agreements or our disagreements, but at the foot of the cross -- where God is faithful, where Christ is present with us, and where, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are one in Christ."Here is the link to the video of his remarks. Listen with your heart.
picture from ELCA website