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More Light Presbyterians plans to ordain full-time staff positions


World is ‘hungry for faithful church leadership that presents a new way of being’

by More Light Presbyterians | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Board of Directors for More Light Presbyterians, a group working toward the full participation of LGBTQIA+ people in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has voted to make the organization’s full-time staff positions eligible for ordination as validated ministries.

The board said the organization anticipates ordaining full-time staffers in 2019.

According to a statement by the board, it’s the “joy of true fellowship that has given us strength — joy borne of struggle and resistance to the voices and structures that would limit who is seen as worthy of being a leader in the church, undergirded by a willingness to live into being the Body of Christ in the world.”

In 2010-11, a majority of presbyteries approved an amendment passed by the 2010 General Assembly removing the constitutional requirement that all pastors, elders and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”

“Throughout our history, we have shown new ways for the church to be a place of welcome, vulnerability, trust, love and prophetic witness that rejects assumptions of who is fit for ministry and who is not,” More Light Presbyterians said.

In the statement, board members said that as societal and denominational views of LGBTQIA+ people have shifted, so has the organization’s role. Now it’s more focused “on equipping the church and individuals and to live into that inclusivity. We have, in short, become a ministry in the church we have called home for 40 years.”

According to the statement, the 2018 General Assembly noted that over the years, LGBTQIA+ people have faithfully, lovingly and courageously served in every kind of service to which Christian disciples are called — notwithstanding the church’s efforts to exclude them from particular types of service in roles including minister of word and sacrament, ruling elder and deacon. Beyond ordination to particular service, they have, the board said, “served the church in worship, ministry and mission, with countless acts of tender mercy.”

“This day in our denomination and in our organization would not be possible without the saints who came before,” the board said, “who were forced to choose between their call to ministry and being out about their identity. With deep gratitude for all the More Light congregations and individuals who continue to build a church that reflects God’s heart, we joyfully step into all that awaits in 2019!”

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