On Wednesday evening, November 9, in a relatively quiet but unanimous vote, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY voted to affirm the mission statement of More Light Presbyterians, and to declare ourselves to be a More Light Presbyterian Church. It was something we had discussed briefly, maybe 20 years ago, and at that moment, the time wasn’t right. In recent years, we have participated in the Albany Presbytery Presbyterian Rainbow sponsored CommUNITY ad, and had some folks come to talk to the Session about being more welcoming and inclusive, but this most recent leg of our journey was triggered when a young woman who grew up at Trinity, and is about to start her second term as a Deacon, came to one of the pastors and said, “I know that I am welcome here as an out Lesbian, but I am wondering if we could begin to explore ways that Trinity could make it clearer to the outside LGBTQ+ community that we are a place that is safe and welcoming. I know what a wonderful place this is, but most of my friends cannot believe that any church could ever be welcoming.” We gathered a small group of folks that we were sure would be totally supportive, and began to discuss possibilities. She spoke to a gathering of all of the Session and Deacons, with such powerful words . . . after which the Worship chair, with Session approval, placed a small rainbow ribbon along the front of our pulpit, and announced to the congregation that this was intended to be a visual sign of our welcome. Later the worship chair posted this on Trinity’s Facebook page:
There were so many positive responses and comments, that it became clear that we were ready. We had thought it might take a few more months, and some study and discussion, but the response to the ribbon so positive that it seemed silly to waste any more time. So the small group wrote up a request to Session to approve the More Light statement. Session discussed it at the October Session meeting. A cautious decision was made to let the congregation know ahead of time that this vote was likely, to give the opportunity for questions or concerns to be expressed, as well as suggestions for more inclusivity; an article was placed in the newsletter, there were no concerns expressed, and so—as said above—in a quiet vote the day after the Presidential election, our session voted unanimously to affirm the More Light Mission statement.
Kathy serves as co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY. In addition to working as a Teaching Elder, Kathy earned her Master of Social Work from Rockefeller College at SUNY Albany, and is a Licensed Master Social Worker and works part-time as a Domestic Violence Counselor at the YWCA of Schenectady, where her work includes a support group for women at the County Jail. You can reach Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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