I was scheduled to autograph copies of my novel, A Wretched Man, in the Cokesbury bookstore in mid afternoon. I arrived an hour early in order to set up and to visit at the booths of the 4-5 LGBT advocacy groups clustered together in a prominent location of the exhibit hall. I met some very nice folks and gladly accepted a rainbow prayer shawl from the More Light Presbyterians (MLP). A question I asked without receiving a clear answer was why these groups don’t pool their resources, but it seems to an outsider that the MLP organization is the largest.
I snapped a few photos which I post here. The mixed generations at “That all may freely serve” pseudo malt shop invited me to sit with them in order to be included in the photo, so that’s my smiling mug you see.
The biggest order of business accomplished by the assembled delegates thus far was the election of new moderator, Cynthia Bolbach, and her election was praised by the volunteers staffing the LGBT booths. Apparently, of the six candidates, she was the one who spoke mostly openly about her support for LGBT issues.
Much of the work of these first few days takes place in committee, and the Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues voted 47-8-2 Monday to approve a report that urges Presbyterians to further study the issues and stay in covenant with each other while they do so. The committee rejected a minority report submitted by three members of the special committee. The minority report, which stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God,” was defeated 40-15, with one abstention.
There were two other authors present for the book signing. Gustav Niebuhr of the famous Niebuhr family, who had earlier spoken to the Covenant Network, offered his book Beyond Tolerance, and I spent quite a bit of time speaking with Dr. Mark Braverman who offered his book Fatal Embrace, Christians, Jews and the search for peace in the Holy Land. I hope to report on our conversation and his book in a later blog post.