Today, 30 LGBT-affirming African religion scholars and faith leaders begin meeting in South Africa. The purpose of the consultation is to build an African faith foundation for the acceptance of LGBT people. It was organized by Kapya Kaoma of Political Research Associates and Michael Adee of the Horizons Foundation’s Global Faith and Justice Project. Kaoma is an Anglican priest from Zambia; Adee is an elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The PCUSA now officially stands with the LGBT people who are criminalized in 78 countries.
In 2004, Brenda Cole—a colleague in a group dedicated to improving the spiritual lives of LGBT people—asked me to preside at her wedding, scheduled more than a year away. “Nancy is a lifelong Presbyterian and wants a Presbyterian minister to preside at our wedding," Brenda said hopefully. "Would you meet with us and talk about officiating?”
"I've been given an opportunity to color outside the lines," says Nanette Sawyer of Grace Commons and St James Presbyterian Church in Chicago, "the permission and charge to be creative and experimental."
It's been rather quiet
on the Presbyterian battlefront since May 10, when the Twin Cities presbytery
in Minnesota became the 87th to vote to lift the ban on LGBT
ministers, elders and deacons. That was the decisive vote, and by July 10 the
historic change was official.
Amid poverty, war and, occasionally, massacre, the Presbyterians in the town of Polhó in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas are singing for their lives. The language of the Tzotzil Maya has a special lyrical quality. Sentences float like melodies in dialogue, rising and falling so that one speaker's tones spill over into the responses of the next.
In 2004, I was the 40th Korean-American clergywoman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Forty seems a small number when you consider that in 2011, Korean-American clergywomen will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first ordination in their ranks. The road to becoming a Korean-American clergywoman remains hard.
The struggle to choose the hymns for the small rural congregation I serve is a microcosm of the challenges faced by members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) as it decides what hymns and songs to include in the next Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnal and electronic resources.