It's that time of year again - no, not Father's Day. It's the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)! Obviously! If I had to guess, I would say you probably aren't sitting at your laptop, cup of tea in hand, catching up on GA news before livestreaming the plenary sessions that start in a couple hours. But for the record, I am definitely not alone in doing just that. Presbyterians are a thinking people - some of us follow General Assembly the way others follow
In my last post, I wrote, "I felt perfectly welcomed at the first seminary (my mom's alma mater), but I felt wanted at the second. After much prayer and discernment, I made the decision to only apply to the second." I spent a lot of time praying over that, trying to figure out exactly how to describe that feeling. It reminds me of this article I read a few years ago. The author argues that "accept" and "tolerate" are not words we should use for our gay children; rather, we sh
A year ago, I attended a retreat for women discerning a call to ministry. I was in the midst of chairing my church's pastor search committee, and I felt pushes and pulls in so many directions. I remember feeling loved and supported and so very unsure. At the time, I didn't (and still don't) feel called to parish ministry but did feel called to a more purposeful role in and commitment to the church. I hadn't yet figured out if that would or would not include seminary. Needless
A few weeks ago, Rev. Maggie Wellert, a local retired Moravian pastor, shared an illustration with our congregation. (Paraphrased here – various versions available online from a variety of sources.) A little boy was awoken by a loud thunderstorm in the middle of the night. He cried out for his father who quickly rushed into the boy’s room. The boy told his father that he was frightened of the storm, and his father said, “But son, remember what you learned in Sunday School?
I’m a pastor’s daughter – a female pastor’s daughter to be precise – so I have gotten the question for ages, “Are you gonna be a pastor when you grow up?” Of course now that I’m old enough that it would be rude to say “when you grow up” (though I certainly don’t feel grown up), I get the statement, “You should be a minister.” Now that I’m attending a church of my own rather than attending the church my mom is currently serving, many people don’t realize who my mother is, so
Update: I received some wonderful feedback from a friend of mine that is an important update to this post. Thank you, Brige Mendes for calling me out and helping me learn! As a reminder to my readers, I am not an expert, and I so appreciate feedback like this. I have removed my use of the asterisk but have kept the poster simply to explain what the trans community includes. "I really love this post to but thought you might want to know some of the info is a bit outdated Th
Someone recently said to me, “The church has come a long way, but I think the one thing that will never change is male pronouns for God. God will always be the Father.” Being the insufferable know-it-all that I am, I obviously had to give her as many examples as I could of times when I have heard other names/pronouns for God used in worship. I still don’t know if she was lamenting the “fact” she shared or upholding the belief that God is indeed our Father. But it got me t
“You’re being too sensitive!” “You have to understand that we didn’t mean anything by it.” “That’s obviously not what we meant.” -- Sound familiar? Too often, these are the responses to any attempt to dismantle systems of oppression. Rather than being open to criticism (even when it is shared in the kindest of manners) and learning from marginalized voices, people immediately become defensive, refusing to believe that they are part of an oppressive system or perhaps that th
Tonight was an historic night for the Presbyterian Church (USA). Maybe you read about it. For the first time, we passed a denomination-wide Child/Youth/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy (CYVAPP). You thought I was going to bring up The Belhar Confession, didn’t you? Don’t worry. I’ll get there. This policy is the first of its kind in our denomination. Some Presbyteries had a policy. Some individual churches had a policy. But there was nothing uniform. The closest w
This has been an intense week - beginning with the tragic shooting at Pulse in Orlando. I felt so devastated. In my grief, I reached out to my pastor. I asked to have a few minutes to speak on Sunday, to bear witness to the lives lost at Pulse, and to explain how devastating a shooting in a gay nightclub is to my queer family. Her first response was that we just don't have time on Sunday morning: we have too many things going on, and she'd try to cover it in her sermon.