Last week Lisa Larges visited our campus and the Women’s Center. On Thursday afternoon twelve of us gathered at her feet to hear her tell personal stories and discuss with us issues of power relations, both in a personal context and in institutional religion. Lisa is the Coordinator of That All May Freely Serve, the arm of the Presbyterian Church that works for full inclusion of all who are called to professional ministry, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. She has been a candidate for ordination for more than twenty years and is still seeking to be ordained. Her case will come before the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting in Indianapolis on Friday Oct.30, 2009. Several representatives will travel to Indianapolis to be present at the hearing. In a recent publication Lisa observed that “as long as the Presbyterian Church practices faith-based discrimination it is fighting a losing battle.” It is clear to Larges that biblical scholarship, theological perspectives and cultural changes are moving the church toward inclusion. She also notes that until that day comes the church will continue to create spiritual damage in the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.[Echelon: Taking Pride in Business, 3/17/09] We honor Lisa in her long struggle toward the dignity and equality she, together with so many others, should have been afforded a long time ago and our prayers for her wellbeing go with her to Indianapolis.
On Sunday Oct.25, she preached at Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville, on the story in the Gospel of Matthew of Peter coming out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water. Her interpretation of this well-known tale caused both loud laughter and profound recognition in the congregation. She ended her sermon with the image of an uncertain, frightened, wavering human hand stretched out toward the warm, strong, supportive hand of God, who is coming toward us across the water. May the hand of God stretch out to lift our Queer sisters and brothers into the place where they may serve God with all their talents, imagination and love through ordained office in the church.