London Pride, PCUSA Assembly

I’m on my way into London for Gay Pride. As I walk down Oxford Street and Regent Street towards Trafalgar Square, part of my thoughts will be elsewhere, with the US Presbyterians, who have already announced that they are ready to celebrate progress towards LGBT equality, even before the crucial decisions to be taken by the Assembly, which starts today. They have reason to celebrate: while there is much to do still, there has been clear measurable progress already. The signs are good: National Assembly has already voted (last year) to approve ordination of gay and lesbian pastors. Only the failure to secure ratification from enough local congregations has prevented the decision taking full effect. This year is likely to see the proposal pass with a wider margin, and activists are continuing to gain further support at local level. Queer Presbyterians will also be encouraged by the venue – the same hall where the Lutherans tool their own ground-breaking decisions last year.

This report from Ekklesia has more:

Presbyterian advocates of equality for all members of the church, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), are announcing they are ready to celebrate continuing progress at the upcoming General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) which takes place from July 3–10, in Minneapolis.

“We have come so far toward fully including everyone in the denomination, we have reason to celebrate, even as we work for fuller inclusion. As we move forward, we will continue to lift up our core belief that we are all created in the image of God. We know that the church is living into a future that allows Presbyterians to follow their God-led consciences as they consider each candidate, rather than requiring exclusion,” said the Rev Tricia Dykers Koenig, National Organiser of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.

As the denomination gathers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, many are aware that in the same hall, one year earlier, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American voted to allow ministers in partnered same-sex couples to be listed on the official roster and to serve the church. All requirements to limit participation were dropped and Lutherans are living into the new policies by receiving clergy back into the church.

Lisa Larges, head of That All May Freely Serve, said, “Faith traditions are moving toward a new understanding of God’s diverse creation. The time for policies based on our love of God and call to serve has come. Churches are learning to affirm gifts for ministry rather than reject ministers because of whom they chose as a life partner.”

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