God's whole family Our best wishes and prayers go to the More Light Presbyterians meeting in Nashville this weekend, the LGBT advocacy group within the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA).  Here is updated information as the conference approaches (hat tip to Pastor John Shuck at Shuck and Jive blog):

The National Welcoming and Affirming Conference – God’s Whole Family! – is almost here.  A true family reunion set for Labor Day week-end in Nashville, TN!  We’ve got an amazing line-up of programs and speakers, as you can see from the Conference Overview below.  All we need now is YOU! 
Registration is simple!  Just go to www.MLP.org/mlp2009reg.  You can’t beat the price – $50 for students and $75 for everyone else.  Even cheaper if you bring a group – 5 for the price of 4! A few scholarships are available, if needed.
Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly, will be with us Friday and Saturday.  When was the last time you had that kind of access to a moderator of the PC(USA)?  In addition to Bruce, we’ve got:
–Rev. Debra Peevey, inspirational leader in the 08-B Campaign 
–Rev Janet Edwards and Rev Ray Bagnuolo, preachers
–The World Premier of God’s New Family, MLP’s newest DVD
–Conference music leader, Patrick Evans
–Nashville in Harmony (the Gay Chorus!)

Workshops include:

–Creating and Empowering More Light Chapters
— Dreamwork: A Way to Listen for God
— Heidelberg Catechism: What is it? Why it’s important; Who needs to Help? YOU!
–Legal and Spiritual Support for LGBT Families
–Marriage Equality: Church and State
–More Light Churches: First Steps – Next Steps
–Pastor as Activist
–Social Justice is Evangelism
–Being Transgender in the Church and the World
–Writing Overtures for Justice: 2010

The More Light Website also points to a couple other excellent articles.  From the Boston Globe op-ed page comes a Sept 1 editorial by Professors Wendy Cadge and Laura Olson that discussed the recent ELCA decision to affirm gay clergy:

American religious organizations have rarely been leaders in national movements for gay rights. With few exceptions, they have been opposed or uninvolved. Yet some are slowly changing their views as they grapple with questions about homosexuality in light of public debates about same-sex marriage and increased visibility of gay men and lesbians in American life. Mainline Protestant denominations in particular are slowly, but deliberately, adopting more tolerant stances.

The piece notes the earlier UCC and Episcopal actions allowing gay clergy and speculates whether the Presbyterian and Methodist churches are also trending in that direction.

Rev. Jean SouthardFinally, the More Light website notes a PCUSA judicial decision exonerating Presbyterian minister, Rev. Jean Southard, for officiating at a lesbian marriage ceremony in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal.

"I had the privilege and joy of visiting Jean in Waltham and observing her faithful and loving pastoral leadership and service in person.  Jean is one of the most loving and thoughtful pastors I have ever met.  I give thanks to God today that the PJC dismissed the charges against Jean.  Her stalwart commitments to peacemaking, justice and equality in addition to her pastoral heart characterize her life and ministry.  Jean is a blessing to everyone fortunate enough to know her," said Michael J. Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians.