Rev. Jane Spahr is in Louisville for the hearing of the final appeal in a disciplinary case against her for performing LGBT marriages as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. A number of events cluster around her visit, including a silent witness this afternoon, 4 p.m., in front of the Presbyterian Center at 100 Witherspoon Street, with worship following at Central Presbyterian Church.
Tomorrow morning, Friday, beginning at 8:45 a.m., the Women’s Center will be open for prayer around and during the hearing of the appeal.
We will be praying in particular for the movement of the Holy Spirit in and through the hearing, the deliberations of the Permanent Judicial Commission, and the events surrounding this. I think I learned in Presbyterian Heritage that the conviction that the Holy Spirit does, indeed, move in and through the interactions of the faithful is one of the characteristic features of Reformed faith and polity. This means, among other things, that Presbyterians are not ones to shrink from conflict, whether it be theological, exegetical, political, cultural, or all of the above. Rather, conflict becomes an occasion for discernment, and even, by the grace of God, encounter with God. At a minimum, conflict is an occasion for encounter with the neighbor, made in the image of God.
On Saturday morning, we will have further opportunity for encounter, as we will be hearing from Rev. Spahr, and from others involved in the effort to recognize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians as legitimate participants in every aspect of the ritual life of the church at the panel “Wedding Justice and Love in Faith Communities,” 9:00 a.m. – noon, Hundley Hall of Gardencourt on the Seminary campus.