Thursday, July 8, 2010

Press Release: Pro-LGBT Presbyterians and Soulforce hold Noon Press Conference

Media Contacts:

Cindi Love, Soulforce (972) 358-5907
Michael Adee, More Light Presbyterians (505) 577-0086
Lisa Larges, That All May Freely Serve (585) 615-0613

July 6, 2010 — Soulforce and pro-LGBT Presbyterian groups held a noon press conference in front of Wesley Church on Thursday, July 8 in the middle of a two-day Pray-In across the street from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting from June 27-July 10 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Young and veteran Presbyterians spoke to their hopes and dreams for inclusion as the denomination moved into its final days of deliberations on issues such as benefits to same-gender spouses; ministry for all couples who are wedding; and removal of all barriers to ordination. If key decisions such as ordination and the definition of marriage pass, they will have to be ratified by two-thirds of the 183 regional presbyteries across the country. In early 2009, traditionally conservative presbyteries supported a similar recommendation in larger numbers than ever.


Rev. Dr. Cynthia "Cindi" Love is an award-winning entrepreneur who has served as a corporate executive, educator administrator and clergy person. She and her partner of 31 years, Sue, are legally married in Canada, live in Abilene, Texas, and have two adult children. Love serves on the "Faith and Religion Council" for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. and was part of the Clergy Call on Washington in 2009 to lobby for passage of the hate crimes bill and the employment non-discrimination act. From 2005 to 2009, Love served as the Executive Director for Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide. In 2009, the Human Rights hosted three Town Halls in North Dakota and Minnesota which featured Dr. Love’s work on the topic “Would Jesus Discriminate?” Love spent many years in the business sector, founding companies, the last of which was acquired by The Toro Company in 1996. She was named one of the "Top 50 Entrepreneurs" in North America by Inc. Magazine, MIT and YEO.

Jason Conner is a 26 year old activist currently working with Soulforce, Inc. as a denominational action organizer. He was a Soulforce Equality Rider in 2010. Jason is originally from West Virginia, and is currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jason has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past five years, mainly focusing his work on economic justice and immigration reform issues.

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians, a national organization founded in 1974 that works to achieve spiritual, ordination and marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Michael became a human rights activist after being fired from his university teaching position for starting a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) at Northern Kentucky University. During this same time, he was the first openly gay Elder at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. A judicial charge was brought against the church for his ordination that went to the highest court in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Michael recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as a benefit for LGBT equality. Michael lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Lisa Larges, Minister Coordinator for That All May Freely Serve, (TAMFS), felt the call to ministry early in life, graduated from St. Olaf College in 1985 and received her M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary with honors. A lifelong Presbyterian, Lisa became a candidate for ministry in the Twin Cities Presbytery as an open lesbian. Lisa has sought ordination over 20 years and has been approved by the Twin Cities Presbytery and the Presbytery of San Francisco. Each time her ordination was blocked through judicial actions. In 2002 she was called to serve as the Regional Partnership Coordinator with TAMFS, and became Minister Coordinator in 2007 when TAMS Minister Director, the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, retired. In her statement of conscience, Lisa wrote, “The provision is a mar upon the Church and a stumbling block to its mission.”

Daniel Williams, student at Hendricks College, near Little Rock, Arkansas, and lifelong Presbyterian, became an elder in the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 17. Daniel is an organizer for the Arkansas Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. He is openly gay and plans to go to seminary and will seek ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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