The doors of Presbyterian Church, with a recent decision to allow for same sex weddings, have just been opened wider for those in the LGBT community wishing to be married. While I join with Presbyterians from around the country celebrating our becoming a more inclusive church, we must also remember the need to be pastoral toward those in the church who, in heart-felt ways, disagree with this decision. Let’s be honest! Many in the church have strong feelings that this was a bad decision.
From a pastoral letter written by Rev. Jim Browne, the General Presbyter for the Presbytery of Lake Huron—the Presbytery of which I am a member:
What this means is that anyone authorized to perform a marriage and lives in a state where this is legally possible will be able to officiate at same sex weddings as well as traditional weddings, between a man and a woman. The pastor still is vested with the authority to decide whether a particular wedding is wise and should go forward. The Session which is still given the responsibility to control the use of the building still retains the right to authorize the use of the building for a particular wedding, or to refuse it. The rights of the pastor and of the congregation, vested in the Session, will remain unchanged from before.
Rev. Browne calls upon those in our beloved church to be “gentle with one another”. I like this! While some, like myself, want to celebrate this change in our church constitution, I also know some of my best friends at the core of their being are in disagreement with where the church when it comes to this issue of marriage.
I am proud to be in a church that wrestles with difficult questions – always putting Christ at the center of our deliberations. We are grounded in scripture recognizing there can be varied interpretations when it comes to how God’s Word inspires and guides us in making difficult decisions–living our lives as faithful Christians.
It comes down to this for me: The door is now open wider for those in the LGBT community who wish to join in worship in Presbyterian churches knowing they are fully included as participants in the sacred institutions, like marriage or holding ordained office–institutions and offices we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Note: Rev. Grady Parsons, the Stated Clerk and spokesperson for the Presbyterian Church shares an excellent letter showing how decisions on the issue of the inclusion of the LGBT community has evolved since the 1970’s—a short letter for those interested in learning more about how the PCUSA came to this decision.
 Bi-weekly News of the Presbytery of Lake Huron, March 18, 2015